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More than 1.5 million Washingtonians volunteered through community organizations, according to AmeriCorps research

AmeriCorps estimates volunteers generated nearly $4.1 billion in economic value in the state of Washington based on 2021 survey of civic engagement and volunteerism in each state and largest metro areas.

OLYMPIA –More than 1.5 million people Washington logged in more than 118.7 million hours of formal volunteer service during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest survey data from AmeriCorps’ Volunteering and Civic Life in America research.  

For 20 years, AmeriCorps has worked with the US Census Bureau to collect data on volunteering and civic engagement to take the pulse of the nation’s civic health. The biennial survey looks at rates of volunteerism through organizations, informal helping, charitable giving and other civic behaviors. The latest survey covers the period between September 2020 and September 2021.

According to the survey, more than 1.5 million Washingtonians participated in formal volunteer service though organizations. They logged in 118.7 million service hours’ worth an estimated $4.1 billion in economic value.

Additionally, the research found 3.2 million people in Washington informally helped their neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Serve Washington strives to support and elevate all types of volunteerism, both formal and informal,” said Amber Martin-Jahn, executive director for Serve Washington. “Volunteerism makes a significant impact on Washington’s ability to meet so many critical, local needs.  We are proud of the volunteers who are getting things done in our state. Sometimes the most valuable contribution you can make is the gift of time. Whether you can volunteer long-term, short-term, or just once, your time makes a tremendous difference.”

Nationwide, 23.2% of Americans, or 60.7 million people, formally volunteered with organizations during the survey period. Those volunteers served an estimated 4.1 billion hours with an economic value of $122.9 billion.  Researchers at the Independent Sector work with partners at the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute to calculate the value of volunteer time in each state, based on hourly earnings of private sector workers, excluding those who work on farms or in managerial occupation from the Bureau of Labor statistics. The value of a volunteer hour in Washington state was calculated at $34.87 in 2021.

The survey also found nearly 51% of Americans, or 124.7 million people said they informally helped friends, neighbors or community members at least once a month.

Washington state highlights:

  • Women have higher rates of volunteerism than men, both in Washington and nationally.  A total of 29.5% of Washington women volunteered comparted to 21% of men. Nationally, 25.3% of women volunteered, compared to 20.4% of men.
  • Generation X, or those between the ages of 41 and 56, had the highest rates of volunteerism in Washington (32.5%). Baby boomers, those between 57 and 75 came in second (24.2%), followed by millennials, 25-40-year-olds (24%) and “the silent generation,” those above age 76 (20.3%). Generation Z, or those 24 and under, had the lowest volunteer rate (16.6%).
  • Parents with children under the age of 18 formally volunteered at a higher rate than adults without minor children in their household 35.6% compared to 21.6%.
  • 55.3% of Washingtonians informally helped others by exchanging favors with neighbors
  • 25.5% of those surveyed said they belonged to an organization
  • 55.1% of people surveyed donated $25 or more to charity

View more Washington highlights

View the source data


About Serve Washington: Serve Washington advances national service, volunteerism and civic engagement to improve lives; expands opportunity to meet the local critical needs of residents of Washington; and strengthens community capacity while creating healthy and resilient communities.

About AmeriCorps: AmeriCorps, the federal agency for volunteerism and national service, provides opportunities for Americans to serve their country domestically, address the nation’s most pressing challenges, improve lives and communities, and strengthen civic engagement. Each year, the agency invests in grants for local nonprofit, community, tribal, and state organizations; places more than 200,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in intensive service roles; and empowers millions more to serve as long-term, short-term, or one-time volunteers. Learn more at