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North Carolina lags in volunteering

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North Carolinians volunteer at a lower rate and in lower numbers than residents of other states and the U.S. overall, a new report says.

And the number of volunteers in the state and the rate at which they volunteer both fell in 2009, says Volunteering in America 2010, says the report by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

In 2007 through 2009, on average, 1.7 million North Carolinians donated their time, for a statewide volunteer rate of 24.6 percent, placing the state 38th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in the rate of volunteerism.

That rate compares to a range of 44.2 percent to 37.3 percent, respectively, in the five states with the highest rates – Utah, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Alaska — and 26.8 percent in 2009 for the U.S. overall.

The number of volunteers in North Carolina fell to 1.7 million in 2008 and 2009 from 1.8 million in 2007, while the state’s volunteer rate fell to 23.6 percent in 2009 after increasing to 23.9 percent in 2008 from 26.4 percent in 2007.

Annual volunteer hours per capita in North Carolina totaled 30.6, on average, for the three-year period, compared to a range of 86.9 to 40.1 in the top five states, and a range of 34.8 in 2007 to 34.2 in 2008 and 2009 for the U.S. overall.

North Carolinians contributed of 215.6 million hours of service a year worth $4.5 billion, averaged over the three-year period.

Volunteers in the state donated 30.6 hours a year per resident for the period, on average, placing the state 42d among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The number of volunteer hours per North Carolina resident fell to 26.5 in 2009 from 30.7 in 2008 and 34.8 in 2007.

Charlotte posted a volunteer rate of 28.2 percent and Raleigh-Cary a rate of 23 percent, ranking 19th and 43d, respectively, among large cities, with Charlotte posting 32.4 hours per capita and Raleigh-Cary posting 24 hours per capita.

That compares with volunteer rates ranging from 37.4 percent to 33.9 percent, respectively, for the five large cities with the highest volunteer rate – Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; Seattle; and Oklahoma City – and a range of 43.9 to 60.8 volunteer hours per capita for those five cities.

Asheville posted a volunteer rate of 36.5 percent and Greensboro a rate of 27 percent, ranking 12th and 45th, respectively, among mid-sized cities, with Asheville posting 33.5 hours per capita and Greensboro posting 40.2 hours per capita.

That compares with volunteer rates ranging from 63.6 percent to 40 percent for the five mid-sized cities with the highest volunteer rate – Provo, Utah; Iowa City; Ogden, Utah; Fort Collins, Colo.; and Madison, Wisc. – and a range of 149.7 to 37.5 hours per capita for those cities.

The report also says over 22,000 people in North Carolina participate in national service each year through 90 national service projects and programs.

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