People of all ages volunteer, but those aged 26-34 years old are the least likely to
- Those aged 26-34 tend to volunteer least often: 15% report they volunteer once a month (vs 22% overall) and 30% at least once a year (vs 37% overall).
- The highest rates of volunteering can be found among the 65-74 year olds, with 32% volunteering once a month and 42% at least once a year.
- Sports clubs are the most popular organisations to support among all age groups, except for those aged 75 years and over who are more likely to volunteer for religious organisations (55%) or arts and social clubs (53%) than for sports clubs (45%).
Women are slightly more likely to take part in any form of volunteering
- The latest data (2016/17), shows that women have slightly higher participation rates in formal volunteering than men with 23% of women volunteering regularly (vs 22% of men) and 39% volunteering irregularly (vs 35% of men).
- More pronounced differences are observed in terms of informal volunteering: 55% of women have volunteered informally in the last 12 months (vs 49% of men) and 30% at least once a month (vs 24% of men).
- Men formally volunteer more often in sports clubs (63% vs 51% of women), while women show much higher participation rates in supporting children’s education and schools (35% vs 22% of men).
- In terms of formal volunteering activities, men more often lead groups, give advice and representation, and provide transport than women, whereas women are more often involved in organising events, raising money and providing other practical help.
By socio-economic background and education
People from higher social classes and well-educated backgrounds are more likely to volunteer
- Data from 2016/17 shows that the greatest differences in volunteering rates concern socio-economic status and education level: people in higher social classes and with a higher level of education are more likely to get involved in any form of volunteering.
- The differences in volunteering rates among those groups are smaller when it comes to informal help.
- People in higher managerial and professional occupations are most likely to volunteer formally once a month (30%) compared to intermediate (24%), and routine and manual (17%) occupations.
- About a quarter (24%) of people with a qualification volunteer formally once a month and 42% at least once a year, compared to only 10% and 23% of people with no qualification respectively.
Volunteering rates are higher in rural and less deprived areas
- In 2016/17, rates of formal volunteering were highest in the South West, with 43% of people volunteering irregularly and 29% regularly, while lowest in the North East with 26% and 15% respectively.
- Volunteering rates are higher in rural areas: 30% of people living in the country side volunteer formally on a monthly basis versus 21% of people in urban areas.
- There is also a divide between inner and non-inner cities: 15% of people living in inner city areas report regular formal volunteering, compared with 23% in non-inner city areas.
- People in more deprived areas are less likely to volunteer formally: 14% volunteer regularly in the most deprived areas of England (i.e. in the 10% most deprived Lower Super Output Areas) compared with 31% in the least deprived.
Get the data
Access more data from the Community Life Survey here.