Thursday, January 26, 2006

Public Life Advocate: The Tracker, Jan. 2006

* Social connectedness is a much stronger predictor of the perceived quality of life in a community than the community's income or educational level.

* Youth volunteering is up since 1995, but the gap in volunteering between children with a college-graduate mother and children with a high-school dropout mother increased by almost 50 percent since 1976.

* 82% of high school seniors volunteered in 2004, a 14% jump from 1986.

* In 2005, 42% of those volunteering became involved because they were asked by someone in the organization.

* Persons age 35 to 44 are most likely to volunteer (35%), closely followed by 45 to 54 year-olds (33%).

* Married persons volunteer at a higher rate (34%) than never-married persons (23%) and persons of other marital statuses (23%).

* Parents with children under age 18 are more likely to volunteer than persons without children of that age, 37% compared with 26%.

* Among volunteers with children under 18 years old, 45% of mothers and 36% of fathers volunteered mainly for an educational/youth service-related organization, such as a school or sports team.

* Employed persons are more likely to volunteer than the unemployed. Part-time workers participate in volunteer activities at a higher rate than full-time workers.

* In 2005, 45% of volunteers age 65 and over performed volunteer activities mainly through or for a religious organization, compared with 28% of volunteers age 16 to 24.

* Among volunteers in 2005, people with higher levels of educational attainment were more likely to provide professional or management assistance, tutor or teach, mentor youth, coach, referee, or supervise sports teams, or provide counseling, medical care, fire/EMS, or protective services. They were less likely to collect, prepare, distribute, or serve food, or be an usher, greeter, or minister.

* Participation in clubs and civic organizations has been cut by more than half over last 25 years.

* Joining one group cuts your odds of dying over the next year in half. Joining two groups cuts it by three quarters.