4441.0 - Voluntary Work, Australia, 2010  
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1 December 2011
Embargoed: 11.30 am (AEST)

Women more likely to volunteer than men

More than one-third of Australians did voluntary work last year, with more women volunteering than men, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In 2010, 36% of Australians aged 18 years and over participated in voluntary work - 38% of women and 34% of men.

Despite the pressures of balancing work and family life, people who were employed were most likely to be volunteers - 44% of those with part-time work and 38% with full-time work, compared to 20% of those unemployed and 31% of those not in the labour force. Women working part-time had the highest rate of volunteering (49%). For parents with school-aged children, those in a couple relationship had the highest rate of participation in voluntary work (55%).

Sport and physical recreation organisations were the most common type that people volunteered for, accounting for 63% of volunteering fathers and 47% of volunteering mothers with children. People over 65 most commonly volunteered for welfare and community organisations (37%).

Volunteering runs in the family - 66% of volunteers reported that their parents had undertaken voluntary work and volunteers were more likely to have participated in group or community activities as a child.

As well as volunteering through organisations, 64% of volunteers had also provided informal assistance in the last 4 weeks to people outside of their household, such as relatives, friends and neighbours. Volunteers were also more likely than non-volunteers to provide care to someone with a disability, long-term health condition or problems with old age (27% compared to 17% for non-volunteers).

Further details are available in Voluntary Work, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 4441.0), available free of charge on the ABS website.

Media note:
    • A volunteer is someone who, in the previous 12 months, willingly gave unpaid help, in the form of time, service or skills, through an organisation or group.
    • Voluntary work excludes employment or study commitments, for example, work experience, student placements or work for the dole.
    • When reporting ABS data the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.