Volunteerism up

Teens volunteer more, elderly give most time.

More Americans volunteered in 2003 than in 2002, in part because of a rise in teen volunteers, a new report says.

Nearly 29 percent of the U.S. population volunteered between September 2002 and September 2003, up from 27.4 percent the prior year, says the report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Americans ages 35 to 44 were the most likely to volunteer, followed by those ages 45 to 55, although the volunteer rate of teenagers jumped from nearly 27 percent to almost 30 percent last year, higher than for all other age groups.

Roughly 63.8 million Americans donated their time through activities such as fundraising, selling items for charity, coaching, tutoring, collecting and distributing food or being an usher or greeter.

Volunteers gave an average of 52 hours per year, unchanged from a year earlier, although people 65 and older gave the most time, an average of 88 hours.

While men and women volunteered the same average number of hours a year, over 32 percent of women volunteered, compared to 25 percent of men.

Volunteers most often worked with religious groups, followed by education or youth services and social or community service groups.

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