Twin Cities Lead Nation in Volunteerism

In 2010, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area ranked first for volunteerism among large U.S. cities for the fifth consecutive year-and Minnesota ranks third among all 50 states and Washington, D.C., when it comes to volunteerism.

Twin Citians give more of their time than residents of any other large metro area across the nation, according to a report released Monday by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

The organization's annual “Volunteering in America” research found that the Twin Cities have a 37.1 percent volunteer rate-higher than any other major U.S. city-and in 2010, the area ranked first for volunteerism for the fifth consecutive year.

Additionally, 37.5 percent of the state's residents volunteer, ranking Minnesota third among all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Roughly 1.6 million Minnesotans collectively volunteered 189.8 million hours of service through or for a nonprofit or community organization last year. Between 2008 and 2010, Minnesotans donated an average of 42.3 hours per resident-and residents collectively contributed an average of $3.7 billion worth of service annually over that period.

According to the report, the top four volunteer activities for Minnesotans between 2008 and 2010 were collecting and distributing food, fundraising, general labor, and professional assistance or management, respectively.

In terms of where the state's residents gave their time, religious organizations topped the list, with 36.1 percent of residents donating hours to them between 2008 and 2010. Meanwhile, a quarter of the state's residents gave their time to educational opportunities and 15.3 percent volunteered for social service-related missions.

Nationally, the volunteer rate dipped slightly from 26.8 percent in 2009 to 26.3 percent in 2010-although the number of hours that volunteers gave remained at 8.1 billion hours both years, indicating that those who did volunteer gave more hours of service than they previously have.

Volunteers who are part of Generation X-which includes those born between 1965 and 1981-devoted more time in 2010 than they ever had before, collectively giving more than 2.3 billion hours, according to the report. While just 12.3 percent of Gen Xers volunteered in 1989, 29.2 donated their time last year. The report indicates that the change illustrates a shift in the “volunteer lifecycle”:

Civic involvement increases as citizens develop a deeper connection to their communities through personal networks, work, and their children's schools.

In addition to Minnesota, the four other states with the highest volunteer rate are Utah (44.5 percent), Iowa (37.9 percent), Nebraska (37.4 percent), and South Dakota (37.2 percent).

To see more of Minnesota's volunteerism statistics from the report, click here.