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Minneapolis leads in volunteering

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Aided by a high rate of home ownership and a lower incidence of multi-family housing, Minneapolis-St. Paul posted the highest rate of volunteering in the U.S., a new report says.

In addition to ranking 50 metropolitan areas, the study by the Corporation for National and Community Service analyzed factors influencing volunteer rates.

An area’s “community attachment,” signified by a high rate of home ownership and low rates of apartment dwellers, generally leads to more volunteering.

More than seven in 10 people from Minneapolis-St. Paul own a home, for example, compared to a median of just over six in 10 for metro areas across the U.S.

Long commute times tend to stifle volunteering and could be a factor in the low rankings of New York City, which placed 48th, and Los Angeles, which ranked 44th.

Areas with higher levels of education tend to see higher volunteer rates, as do communities with a higher concentration of nonprofits.

Rounding out the top three metro areas, in order, were Salt Lake City, th a volunteer rate of 38.4 percent; Austin, 38.1 percent; Omaha, 37.8 percent; and Seattle, 36.3 percent.

Las Vegas posted the lowest rate, 14.4 percent, followed by Miami at 16.1 percent.

To boost rates in all metro areas, the report suggests community leaders speak out about the importance of volunteering.

Reducing commute times through flexible work hours also could help, the report says, as could urging nonprofits to expand the roles they offer their volunteers.

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