4409.3 - Ageing Well, Queensland, 2005  
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Contents >> Family and Community Life >> Caring for the community

Many people provide support to the wider community by voluntary work through various organisations. Voluntary work in the community makes a substantial contribution to the national economy.

    There are three main forms of exchange that occur within families and communities in relation to care and support. These are: exchanges that occur within households or families; those that occur between individuals and the wider community; and those that the family unit undertakes with the wider community. When these exchanges take place, it is usually with the aim of maintaining, improving, or repairing the wellbeing of one or both parties involved. These exchanges are therefore useful indicators of wellbeing and how it is changing within the family and community.

    Understanding the type of voluntary work performed and why people undertake voluntary work is an important aspect of the analysis of social capital in communities.

    LABOUR FORCE STATUS OF VOLUNTEERS
    The estimated number of volunteers aged 18 years and over in Queensland in 2000 was 783,800 representing 31% of the civilian population of the same age.

    Most volunteers were employed (69%) although this proportion varied with age. Volunteers aged 18-49 years were more likely to be employed (81%) than those aged 50-64 years (59%) while only a small proportion of volunteers aged 65 and over were employed.

    After the age of 49, volunteers were more likely to be out of the labour force. In 2000, 37% of volunteers aged 50-64 years were not in the labour force and for those aged 65 and over the proportion was 89%.

    The employment patterns for male and female volunteers were slightly different. In Queensland, 75% of male volunteers and 64% of female volunteers were employed. The group of volunteers most likely to be employed were males aged 18-49 years (87%) and the least likely were females aged 65 or over.

    4.3.1 SELECTED LABOUR FORCE CHARACTERISTICS OF VOLUNTEERS, By age, 2000 - Queensland

    18-49 years
    50-64 years
    65 years and over
    Total

    Males
    Employed
    %
    87.0
    62.8
    **17.8
    75.0
    Total
    '000
    238.6
    86.8
    *32.0
    357.4
    Females
    Employed
    %
    75.9
    55.1
    **6.4
    64.0
    Total
    '000
    300.4
    75.7
    50.3
    426.4
    Persons
    Employed
    %
    80.9
    59.2
    **10.9
    69.0
    Unemployed
    %
    *4.2
    **4.1
    -
    *3.8
    Not in the labour force
    %
    14.9
    36.6
    89.1
    27.2
    Total
    '000
    539.0
    162.4
    82.4
    783.8

    * estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.
    ** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

    Source: ABS data available on request, Voluntary Work, 2000 (cat. no. 4441.0).



    LENGTH OF TIME SINCE FIRST VOLUNTEERED
    In 2000, it was more than 10 years since 47% of all volunteers in Queensland had first volunteered and only 9.7% were in their first year of volunteering.

    Volunteers aged 50 years and over were more likely to have been involved for more than 10 years (71%) than those aged 18-49 years (36%).

    The pattern of involvement was similar for male and female volunteers. The biggest difference was reported between volunteers aged 50 and over, where 81% of male volunteers reported that it had been more than 10 years since they first volunteered as compared with 62% of female volunteers.

    4.3.2 VOLUNTEERS, Length of time since first volunteered, By age, 2000 - Queensland

    Male
    Female
    Total

    Age groups
    18-49 years
    Less than 1 year
    %
    *14.1
    *8.7
    11.1
    1 to 5 years
    %
    30.5
    33.1
    31.9
    6 to 10 years
    %
    20.8
    21.5
    21.2
    More than 10 years
    %
    34.6
    36.8
    35.8
    Total
    %
    100.0
    100.0
    100.0
    Total
    '000
    238.6
    300.4
    539.0
    50 years and over
    Less than 1 year
    %
    **2.4
    *11
    *6.8
    1 to 5 years
    %
    **10.5
    *18.6
    *14.7
    6 to 10 years
    %
    **6.6
    **8.4
    *7.5
    More than 10 years
    %
    80.6
    62.0
    71.0
    Total
    %
    100.0
    100.0
    100.0
    Total
    '000
    118.8
    126.0
    244.8
    Total
    Less than 1 year
    %
    *10.2
    *9.3
    9.7
    1 to 5 years
    %
    23.8
    28.8
    26.5
    6 to 10 years
    %
    16.0
    18.0
    17.0
    More than 10 years
    %
    49.9
    44.2
    46.8
    Total
    %
    100.0
    100.0
    100.0
    Total
    '000
    357.4
    426.4
    783.8

    * estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.
    ** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

    Source: ABS data available on request, Voluntary Work, 2000 (cat. no. 4441.0).



    CURRENT REASONS FOR VOLUNTEERING
    In 2000, the top four reasons given for volunteering were the same for both Queensland and Australia with little difference in proportions.

    The main reason for volunteering reported by volunteers in Queensland (48%) and Australia as a whole (47%) was to help others and/or the community.

    Personal satisfaction was the second most common reason accounting for 39% of Queenslanders and 43% of Australians.

    The third and fourth most popular reasons given by over a quarter of all volunteers in Queensland and Australia were personal and/or family involvement and to do something worthwhile.

        4.3.3 CURRENT REASONS FOR BEING A VOLUNTEER, 2000
    Graph, CURRENT REASONS FOR BEING A VOLUNTEER, 2000, Queensland and Australia

    In 2000, the most common current reasons given for volunteering, to help others and/or the community, and personal satisfaction, were the same across all age groups in Australia.

    The importance of these two reasons increased with age. Most volunteers aged 50-64 years (55%) and those aged 65 years and over (54%) wanted to help others and/or the community. The proportion of volunteers aged 18-49 years who gave this reason was lower (43%).

    The importance of personal satisfaction as a reason rose from 40% of volunteers aged 18-49 years to 47% of those aged 50-54 years and 51% of volunteers aged 65 years and over.

    Other reasons also increased in importance with age. To do something worthwhile rose from 27% of volunteers aged 18-49 years to 35% of those aged 50-64 years and 65 years and over. The proportion of volunteers reporting religious belief as current reason for volunteering rose from a low of 9.8% of those aged 18-49 years to a high of 17% for those aged 65 years and over.

    The importance of social contact was reported by 15% of volunteers aged 18-49 years, 20% of those aged 50-64 years and 28% of volunteers aged 65 years and over. Volunteering in order to be active almost doubled in importance from 9.7% for volunteers aged 18-49 years and 50-64 years to 19% of those aged 65 years and over.

    In comparison, there were reasons that become less important with age. The proportion of volunteers who reported personal and/or family involvement dropped from 38% of those aged 18-49 years to 21% of those aged 50-64 years and 14% of volunteers aged 65 years and over. The opportunity to use skills and experience was more commonly given as a reason by volunteers aged 18-49 years (13%) and 50-64 years (14%) than those aged 65 years and over (10%).

    Some of these trends may occur because more older people live alone and have fewer members of their direct family in their household or living near them. Most volunteers aged 65 years and over (89%) were not in the labour force and this may have caused a reduction in regular physical activity so that this becomes a more important reason for their participation in volunteer work.

        4.3.4 VOLUNTEERS, Current reasons for being a volunteer, By age, 2000 - Australia

        Selected reasons
        18-49 years
        50-64 years
        65 years and over
        Total

        Personal/family involvement
        %
        38.0
        20.7
        13.7
        31.3
        Personal satisfaction
        %
        39.6
        47.2
        50.9
        42.7
        Social contact
        %
        15.4
        20.3
        27.5
        17.9
        Religious belief
        %
        9.8
        15.0
        17.2
        11.9
        To be active
        %
        9.7
        9.7
        19.1
        10.8
        To do something worthwhile
        %
        26.8
        34.5
        35.1
        29.5
        Help others/community
        %
        42.8
        55.4
        54.2
        47.0
        Use skills/experience
        %
        12.8
        13.8
        9.8
        12.7
        Other
        %
        22.4
        16.3
        10.9
        19.7
        Total (a)
        '000
        2,895.6
        971.9
        528.0
        4,395.6

        (a) Volunteers may give more than one reason. Therefore figures for individual categories will not add to 100%.

        Source: ABS data available on request, Voluntary Work, 2000 (cat. no. 4441.0).

      TYPE OF ORGANISATIONS CHOSEN BY VOLUNTEERS
      The largest proportion of volunteers in Australia as a whole worked for community and/or welfare (30%) or sport and recreation organisations (30%).

      The types of organisation worked for varied between males and females and as people aged.

      Education, training and/or youth organisations accounted for the highest proportion of female volunteers aged 18-49 years (40%) and the second highest proportion of male volunteers of that age (24%). Conversely, sports and recreation organisations accounted for the highest proportion of male (43%) and the second highest proportion of female volunteers of that age (28%).

      These levels of involvement could be because persons aged 18-49 years may be more likely than those aged 50 years and over to have children of school age who were involved in these activities.

      The highest proportion of male volunteers aged 50-64 years (35%) and female volunteers of that age (46%) worked for community and/or welfare organisations. This type of organisation also accounted for the highest proportion of male (46%) and female (56%) volunteers aged 65 years and over.

      Sports and recreation organisations also accounted for the second highest proportion (31%) of male volunteers aged of 50-64 years whereas education, training and/or youth organisations had fallen in popularity to 17%.

      Both education, training and/or youth organisations (14%) and sport and recreation organisations (13%) had fallen in popularity for females aged 50-64 years. The second highest proportion of female volunteers of this age worked for religious organisations (26%).

      Religious organisations also accounted for the second highest proportion of male (24%) and female (24%) volunteers aged 65 years and over.

          4.3.5 VOLUNTEER RATE, Selected types of organisations, by age, 2003 - Australia

          Male
          Female
          Total

          18-49 years
          Community/welfare
          %
          19.4
          24.2
          22.0
          Sport & Recreation
          %
          42.8
          27.8
          34.7
          Education/Training/Youth Development
          %
          23.7
          39.8
          32.4
          Religious
          %
          11.6
          16.9
          14.5
          Health
          %
          4.1
          7.0
          5.6
          Other
          %
          22.8
          17.3
          19.8
          Total(a)
          '000
          1,334.4
          1,561.2
          2,895.6

          50-64 years
          Community/welfare
          %
          34.9
          45.6
          40.2
          Sport & Recreation
          %
          30.9
          13.0
          22.1
          Education/Training/Youth Development
          %
          16.9
          13.9
          15.4
          Religious
          %
          17.1
          26.1
          21.5
          Health
          %
          *6.0
          11.7
          8.8
          Other
          %
          26.1
          23.6
          24.9
          Total(a)
          '000
          495.2
          476.7
          971.9

          65 years and over
          Community/welfare
          %
          45.6
          56.3
          51.2
          Sport & Recreation
          %
          22.2
          *7.9
          14.7
          Education/Training/Youth Development
          %
          *7.3
          **3.6
          *5.4
          Religious
          %
          23.9
          24.1
          24.0
          Health
          %
          *6.4
          *15.5
          11.2
          Other
          %
          22.1
          *15.4
          18.6
          Total(a)
          '000
          251.3
          276.7
          528

          Total
          Community/welfare
          %
          26.3
          32.5
          29.5
          Sport & Recreation
          %
          37.5
          22.4
          29.5
          Education/Training/Youth Development
          %
          20.1
          30.2
          25.4
          Religious
          %
          14.4
          19.7
          17.2
          Health
          %
          4.8
          9.0
          7.0
          Other
          %
          23.5
          18.4
          20.8
          Total(a)
          '000
          2,080.9
          2,314.6
          4,395.6

          * estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.
          ** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.
          (a) Includes all other types of organisations. Volunteers may work for more than one of the same or different types of organisations. Therefore figures for individual categories will not add to 100%.

          Source: ABS data available on request, Voluntary Work, 2000 (cat. no. 4441.0).


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      FURTHER INFORMATION

      ABS Sources

      Social Capital Theme page
      Culture and Recreation Theme page

      The data on this page were last updated on 21 July 2005.


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