Data from the Community Life Survey shows that rates of volunteering by people in the 16-25 age group have been increasing substantially in recent years. The recent decline we’ve seen for volunteering at least once a month within this age group is not statistically significant, so we should assume there has been no change between years.
Read Nick Ockenden’s blog ‘Sharp increase in young people’s volunteering’.
To explore volunteering in under-16s, other data is available. In the Understanding Society survey panel of 4760 young people aged 10-15 in 2010 and 2011, 52% volunteered at least once per year, of which 19% did so at least once per month or more and 6% at least once per week. Young people in this age group are more likely to volunteer if their parents also volunteer.
Other factors associated with likelihood of volunteering are attendance at extracurricular religious classes, and ‘cultural capital’ (reflecting a range of cultural activities, such as attending cultural and social events, visiting museums, and discussing literature). Gender is also a factor, with girls more likely to volunteer, as is ethnicity: young people are more likely to volunteer if they are a member of an ethnic minority group in the UK (Bennet and Parameshwaran, 2013).
Proportion of 16 to 25 year olds volunteering, 2003 – 2015/16 (% of respondents)
Source: Community Life Survey (2015/16)
Research in 2015 by Ipsos Mori (on behalf of Step Up to Serve) found that 42% of young people aged between 10 and 20 years participated in ‘meaningful social action’ in the UK – this is slightly broader than volunteering but sheds important light on the activity of this age group which is not often covered in other surveys. The 2014 report is also available to download.
Our research in this area
- Helping Out – the 2007 national survey of volunteering and charitable giving (PDF, 825KB)
- Student Volunteers. A National Profile
- Measuring the impossible - Scoping study for longitudinal research on the impact of youth volunteering
- Formative evaluation of v
Find out more about volunteering research
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- Read the latest news from IVR
- Read the latest blog posts around volunteering research on the NCVO website
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