Many people provide support to the wider community by voluntary work through organisations. In 2010, 6.4 million people aged 18 years and more (38%) had undertaken some form of voluntary work in the previous 12 months, up from 34% in 2002 (table 2). The rate of volunteering differed between the sexes, with 37% of men doing volunteer work in 2010 compared to 40% of women (tables 3 and 4). The rate of volunteering also differed with age, life cycle and location. People aged 45 to 54 years reported the highest rate of volunteering (44%) (table 2). People in a couple relationship with dependent children were more likely (48% of such persons) to volunteer than those in a couple relationship with no dependent children, lone parents or lone persons (table 8). Volunteer rates were noticeably lower in the major capital cities (34%) than elsewhere (42% inner regional, 41% other areas) (table 7).
The types of groups that adults did unpaid volunteer work for also varied depending age (see graph 4.1). Younger age groups most commonly volunteered for groups related to sport and recreation. Volunteering for parenting groups is relatively common in the 25-34 and 35-44 year old groups while volunteering for welfare and community type groups is common in the older age groups.
4.1 Types of groups did unpaid volunteer work for,
in the last 12 months, by age of volunteer
Whether a person does any voluntary work might be influenced by whether their parents have done voluntary work. In 2010, 52% of adults reported that their parents had done voluntary work. The volunteer rate among those whose parents had volunteered was 46% compared to 26% for those whose parents had not volunteered (tables 30 and 31).