CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

FEATURED: Youth Volunteering in the States: 2002 to 2009

February 14th, 2011
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The volunteering rate among Americans of high-school age (16-18) hit its peak in 2005, at 33%, but has since declined to 27-29% for the past four years, according to the new CIRCLE fact sheet “Youth Volunteering in the States: 2002 to 2009.” This fact sheet provides rates of volunteering for teenagers and young adults by state in 2002 through 2009. It also summarizes state policies relevant to youth volunteering. Much of the important variation is actually at the local level; to illustrate how communities differ, this fact sheet provides quick profiles of Boston, Minneapolis-St Paul, and Seattle (where youth volunteers have very different profiles) and the state of Maryland.

9 Responses to “FEATURED: Youth Volunteering in the States: 2002 to 2009”

  1. Tweets that mention CIRCLE » FEATURED: Youth Volunteering in the States: 2002 to 2009 -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nonprofit VOTE, abbyik and kthorson, CIRCLE . CIRCLE said: Check out state-by-state youth volunteering rates for 2002-2009 at Three age groups: 16-18 YO, 19-24YO and 25+ […]

  2. Joe Says:

    Some of the peek had to do with a few things. A lot of high schools used to require a lot of community service hours in order for students to graduate. Budgets have gotten together and school programs are forgetting that students need to be well rounded. After the big crash of 08′ budgets got so bad, schools were only focused on one thing. Traditional education.

  3. Truck Driving Games Says:

    What are your thoughts on the volunteering (industry?) being effected by companies who offer paid volunteering abroad?

    I’ve noticed a huge increase in people paying to volunteer in 3rd world countries.

  4. Melissa Masoner Says:

    The Bill of Rights Institute’s website had the following:

    According to CIRCLE, 67% of non-college bound youth report that they can make “little or no” difference in their communities.

    Please refer me to the source for more information.

    Thanks for your valuable work!


  5. CIRCLE Says:

    Melissa: Here is you r source:

  6. LaShay Says:

    I am doing a topic exploration for a course. I was wondering if there are further sources available on “if youth(16-18) volunteerism exposure increases the likely hood of youth becoming civic engaged adults”( i.e voting,community service involvement ect.)?



  7. CIRCLE Says:

    Hi LaShay: Thanks for your question. Here are a couple of resources that may fit what you are looking for: CIRCLE Working Paper #73 finds that participation in extracurricular activities, in general, promotes voting, though some activities (notably, some sports) decrease it

    - Working paper 49 describes how political communication in the home increased the probability of voting for students when they reached voting age during the 2004 election. Thus, the interplay of influences from school and family magnified curriculum effects in the short term and sustained them in the long term.

  8. Dave Says:

    Hi – what a great resource you are!

    I run a young non-profit focused on engaging teens across the U.S. in volunteering and service in the issues that they care about most. We’ve been able to attract some corporate sponsorship and foundation funding but in order to secure more funding it looks like we should make a much stronger argument for a link between volunteering and one or more of the following:
    a) academic performance (and drop-out rate)
    b) development of job skills
    c) civic engagement

    Note: Linking these characteristics with service learning programs is valuable (and appreciated for reference) but but our program is strictly service (i.e. non-curricular) so whenever possible we’d prefer research on pure volunteerism and these characteristics.

    If no such research exists (particularly around academic performance) we’d be happy to work with you to find funding to study the results of our program(s).


  9. CIRCLE Says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your comment! Yes, there is research out there related to the aforementioned volunteering benefits. I’ve written a blog post here: That said, we believe more research should be done on this.

    We would be interested in working with you to look more closely at this. Please feel free to contact CIRCLE staff via phone/email to discuss.