Measuring Vermont's 'Charitableness'

Dec 8, 2015

According to recent numbers, Vermont remains one of the more charitable states in the country. For the third year in the row, Vermont has the most volunteers per capita enrolled in the Peace Corps. The state also scores high in other volunteer programs and in charitable giving.

The Peace Corps announced Vermont's top standing Tuesday, saying 52 residents are currently serving worldwide in Peace Corps. That translates to a ratio of 8.3 Peace Corps volunteers for every 100,000 residents, the highest per capita rate in the nation.

With 18 of those volunteers coming from Burlington or South Burlington, that metropolitan area ranks third in the country for most Peace Corps members per capita, behind Ithaca, N.Y. and Missoula, Mont.

Vermont schools also ranked high on the annual lists of volunteer-producing colleges and universities in the country. On the small school list,  Middlebury College ranked third and Saint Michael’s College ranked 20th. The University of Vermont placed seventh on the medium-size school list.

UVM grad and Essex Junction resident Taylor Dorn is serving in the Peace Corps in Panama. She commented in a Peace Corps press release:"When I left Vermont for Panama, the environmental transition came as a literal shock – I went from shivering in my boots to sweating in my sandals! While I am doing a lot of technical and quantifiable work, I feel that the biggest difference I can make is more qualitative things like being friendly and helpful to my community members.”

In addition to the Peace Corps ranking, the Corporation for National and Community Service released its 2015 Volunteering and Civic Life in America report on Tuesday. That report ranks Vermont as the sixth state for overall volunteering, up from the 12th spot last year.

The Corporation for National and Community Service runs programs such as AmeriCorps and Senior Corps. The report reflects volunteering figures from 2014.

The Vermont figures show:

  • 34.7 percent of residents volunteered, ranking Vermont sixth among the 50 states and Washington, DC.
  • 179,830 volunteers
  • 42.9 volunteer hours per capita
  • 22.1 million hours of service
  • $509.5 million of service contributed
  • 49.3 percent of residents donate $25 or more to charity

In addition to those figures, the National Corporation for Community Service says 68 percent of Vermont residents participated in "informal volunteering, including activities like helping sick neighbors shop for groceries or watching each other’s children."

Breaking the numbers down, Vermont ranks third for volunteer service by college students, fourth for  parent and baby boomer volunteers, fifth for volunteer service by teenagers and millennials, sixth for veteran volunteers and eighth for service by older residents.

In an unrelated study also released Tuesday, the personal finance website WalletHub put together a list of 2015's Most and Least Charitable States. Vermont ranked as the 13th most charitable state on that list. Vermont's ranking was bolstered, in part, by having the most charities per capita of any state.