Volunteer Rate

Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2010): 32.1%
Current (2021): 29.1%

Theme Educated


Percent of residents who volunteer

Why is it Important?

Volunteering improves the community by providing important services such as feeding the hungry and mentoring youth. In addition, volunteering benefits those who volunteer by reducing isolation, improving health1, and for volunteers who are unemployed, increasing the likelihood of finding a job.Volunteering is a key indicator for sustainability because it reflects the amount of social capital in the region, which is the sum of relationships and interactions that build trust, create a sense of community, and empower residents to improve their communities. 

How are we Doing?

The volunteer rate in the St. Louis region decreased from 32.1 percent of residents volunteering in 2010 to 29.1 percent in 2021. Data are available back to 2008. Since then, the highest rate for the region was 34.6 percent in 2019. Over the time period for which data are available, the percentage has fluctuated, not showing a real trend in one direction. The rate has mostly hovered around the 30 percent range. The rate did show a 5.5 percentage point decrease from 2019 to 2021, following the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 rate remained higher than many previously recorded rates.

Among the 50 most populous regions in the country, St. Louis had the 12th highest volunteer rate in 2021. The rate was higher than on average for these peer regions, which was 22.6 percent. Most of the Midwest peer regions have higher rates than on average for the peer regions with St. Louis landing in the middle of the Midwest peer regions.

Volunteer Rate St. Louis

Geographic Level

St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). View map.


1 Grimm, Robert, Kimberly Spring, and Nathan Dietz. The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research Corporation for National & Community Service, April 2007; accessed on 12 December 2013 at http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/07_0506_hbr.pdf

2Spera, Chistopher, Robin Ghertner, Anthony Nerino, and Adrienne DiTommaso. Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment: Does Volunteering Increase Odds of Finding a Job for the Out of Work? Corporation for National & Community Service, June 2013; accessed on 12 December 2013 at http://www.nationalservice.gov/sites/default/files/upload/employment_research_report.pdf

Data Sources

U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey