People of all ages volunteer. Despite some variation in the frequency and levels of volunteering across age ranges, between around a quarter (24%) and a third (33%) of people in each age range report volunteering at least once a month (with those aged 65-74 the most likely to volunteer this frequently).
The numbers volunteering less frequently, at least once in the last year, are understandably higher, with the proportion rising to between 40-50% of people across most age ranges, except among those aged 75 and over where the proportion drops to around a third (34%).
The highest rates of volunteering (those who said that they had volunteered at least once in the previous year) were found in the Southern regions of England (49% in the South East and 50% in the South West). Most regions followed the national picture of an increase in volunteering between 2010/11 and 2012/13, with the largest increases in Yorkshire and The Humber, London, and the East Midlands.
There have also been shifts in volunteering rates by economic status. 38% of people in employment reported volunteering at least once in the last year (up from 42% in 2010/11), along with 40% of those who were economically inactive (defined as those who are not immediately available for work; up from 34%). However among the unemployed, volunteering dropped to 33% (38%).
Proportion of people volunteering by age group, 2012/13 (% of respondents)
Our research in this area
- Helping Out – the 2007 national survey of volunteering and charitable giving (PDF, 825KB)
- Annual return for Volunteer Centres 2012
- Volunteering for Stronger Communities
- Who gives time now? Patterns of participation in volunteering
Find out more about volunteering research
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- Read the latest blog posts around volunteering research on the NCVO website
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