NIH News Backgrounder
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute of Child Health
and Human Development

EMBARGOED BY FORUM ON CHILD
AND FAMILY STATISTICS
Thusday, July 13, 2000
Contact: Barbara Marenus
(202) 502-7391

Special Indicator Finds High School Volunteerism up 10 Percent

About 55 percent of 9th through 12th graders participated in volunteer activities in 1999, a 10 percent increase from 1996. This figure from the America's Children report may be found in the special indicator, "Youth Participation in Volunteer Activities."

In addition, 6th through 12th grade students were more likely to participate if their schools required that they do so and made the appropriate arrangements. In schools that did so, 59 percent of 6th through 12th graders volunteered. When schools did neither, only 29 percent of students in this age group volunteered.

According to the report, youth benefit not only the communities they live in by volunteering, but also themselves. Studies have shown that youth who volunteer regularly have more confidence in their ability to make public statements and have more political knowledge. By volunteering, they also learn to respect and help others, develop leadership skills, and a better understanding of citizenship.

The report also found that 24 percent of high school students participated in volunteer activities once or twice during the 1998-1999 school year, and 16 percent of high school students performed 35 or more hours of volunteer service. Girls were more likely to volunteer than were boys. In 1999, 57 percent of 6th through 12th grade girls volunteered, as compared to 47 percent of boys.

Students also were more likely to volunteer if their parents had attained higher educational levels. In 1999, 65 percent of 6th through 12th grade students whose parents had attended graduate school volunteered, as compared to 37 percent of students whose parents did not have a high school diploma.