Noteworthy

Study: N.C., Triangle in nation's bottom third for volunteering

Posted July 27, 2008 12:23 p.m. EDT
Updated July 27, 2008 3:40 p.m. EDT

— New rankings of the states and major cities with the most adults volunteering place both North Carolina and the Triangle metro area in the bottom third of their respective categories.

North Carolina's volunteer rate of 27.3 percent ranked 32nd among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., while the Triangle's rate of 26.7 percent garnered the 35th spot among the country's 50 largest metropolitan areas.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency, released a study of volunteerism from 2002 to 2007. The rankings count the volunteer rate from 2007.

The average 225.7 million hours put in annually by North Carolina's 1.8 million volunteers, though, add up: to an estimated economic contribution $4.4 billion.

The Triangle's 223,000 volunteers contribute an average of $516 million to the economy by donating 25.4 million hours, on average, each year.

Religious groups received the greatest share of hours from North Carolina volunteers, claiming 42.8 percent. Education was also a prime concern of volunteers, who donated 22 percent of their hours to such activities.

Social services claimed 12.6 percent of volunteer hours; health causes, 8.5 percent; civic activities, 4.5; sports and the arts, 2.8 percent; and other activities, 6.7 percent.

The main activities of North Carolina volunteers were fundraising, collecting and distributing food, general labor and tutoring or teaching.

Triangle volunteers divided their hours similarly to volunteers statewide; however, they added youth mentoring  as significant activity.

Asheville led the state and placed 12th among the country's 75 largest mid-sized cities, with an average annual volunteer rate of 37.6 percent.

Durham was only slightly behind Asheville, with 37.1 percent of its residents volunteering an average for 45.9 hours annually between 2004 and 2007. Durham was counted as part of the Triangle metro area for national rankings.

Charlotte cracked the top 10 large cities, with a volunteer rate of 32.6 percent. Its 403,000 volunteers donate an average 50.3 million hours each year, for an economic impact of $982 million.