14 – How many people volunteer in the UK?

  • During 2010/11, 39% of adults in England said that they had volunteered formally at least once in the previous 12 months, a smaller proportion than in all years between 2003 and 2009/10. Twenty-five per cent of people reported that they volunteered formally at least once a month in 2010/11, the same proportion as in 2009/10, and lower than in all years between 2001 and 2008/09 (DCLG, 2011).
  • This equates to 16.6 million people in England formally volunteering at least once a year and 10.6 million people in England formally volunteering once a month. If the survey results were equally valid for the UK adult population as a whole, these estimates would increase to 19.8 million (once a year) and 12.7 million (once a month) (NCVO, 2012).

Participation in formal volunteering, 2001 to 2010/11 (%)

volunteering

Source: Citizenship Survey
  • The latest statistics on volunteering show a significant increase in volunteering. According to the Community Life Survey, 44% of adults in England said that they had formally volunteered at least once in the previous 12 months and 29% of people reported that they formally volunteered at least once a month during August 2012 to January 2013 (Cabinet Office, 2013).
  • People in employment (48%) are more likely to formally volunteer at least once a year than those who are economically inactive (40%) or unemployed (34%). People aged 35-49 (50%) are more likely to formally voluteer at least once a year than any other age group. People who formally volunteer at least once a year are more likely to live in the South West (52%) or the South East (51%) (Cabinet Office, 2013).

Formal volunteering at least once a year, by demographics (% of people), August 2012 - January 2013

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Source: Community Life Survey