Volunteering

Last Updated: 
2011
Update Frequency: 
Census data every 5 years

Indicator Rationale

The number of volunteers in the community is a measure of community engagement and social connectedness. The volunteer rate is influenced by age, gender and the current social climate. Although difficult to measure, there is a strong interest among economic analysts in the value of unpaid work because of its significance and because of linkages between unpaid work and the market sector of the economy (ABS 2002).

As well as the economic value of the services volunteers provide, there is much interest in the role volunteers have in building social networks and increasing social cohesion (ABS 2002). A survey conducted by the ABS in 2006 showed that almost two-thirds of those who first became involved in voluntary work in the last 10 years were either asked to volunteer by someone or did so because they know someone involved. This suggests that volunteering not only builds social networks, but grows out of them.

People volunteer for a variety of reasons which provide benefits not only to the community, but also to the volunteers themselves. When asked to give all reasons why they volunteer, a majority (57%) said they were involved to help others or the community, but 44% were involved for personal satisfaction and 36% to do something worthwhile (this last reason being particularly important to older volunteers).

Data Source

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 Census

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 Census

Measures

People who do Voluntary Work for Organisations or Groups. 

Males who do Voluntary Work for Organisations or Groups.

Females who do Voluntary Work for Organisations or Groups.

People Aged 15-24 Years Who do Voluntary Work for Organisations or Groups.

Persons Aged 25-34 Years Who do Voluntary Work for Organisations or Groups.

People Aged 35-44 Years Who do Voluntary Work for Organisations or Groups.

People Aged 45-54 Years Who do Voluntary Work for Organisations or Groups.

People Aged 55-64 Years Who do Voluntary Work for Organisations or Groups.

People Aged 65 Years and Over Who do Voluntary Work for Organisations or Groups.

Data available: 2006 and 2011

The Community Indicators Victoria data on volunteering was updated ABS volunteering measures February 2015. Previously, Community Indicators Victoria had published volunteering data from Victorian Population Health Survey which was conducted at the LGA level for the first time during September to December 2008. 

The ABS has a substantially larger survey size and better survey methodology which means the VPHS data not comparable with the ABS 2006 and 2011 Census data. Therefore, the earlier data have been removed from Community Indicators Victoria but may be obtained on request.  

Reference

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Voluntary Work, Australia, 2006

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Social Trends, 2002