For Immediate Release
September 30, 2002
USA Freedom Corps Launches Volunteer Service Indicators
The USA Freedom Corps office today announced that it is working with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau to create a comprehensive national measure of volunteer service. The recently completed September 2002 Current Population Survey will establish a benchmark for new volunteer service indicators to be released this year.
The Current Population Survey is conducted by the Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A survey of approximately 60,000 households in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the Current Population Survey is designed to represent the civilian population of the United States 15 years and over. The main purpose is to collect information on the labor force status, employment and unemployment of the population. Basic labor force questions are regularly supplemented by questions related to a range of sociological and economic issues.
Sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the September Current Population Survey included supplemental questions to assess the extent and nature of volunteer service in the United States. Questions were designed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau with input from the Corporation for National and Community Service and the non-profit organization Independent Sector, which provided valuable insights based on their experience in researching volunteer activity. The questions are designed to measure not only how many Americans are engaged in volunteer service, but also the frequency of their volunteer activity, the kinds of organizations they volunteer with, and the types of activities they choose. Among those individuals who dont volunteer, the questions are designed to identify barriers to volunteering and steps that would make it easier to volunteer.
The volunteer service indicators will be the most reliable measure of volunteer behavior ever collected in the United States, said John Bridgeland, Director of the USA Freedom Corps. With reliable yearly data, we can offer non-profit and community organizations, foundations, corporations, academics and the general public information about trends in volunteer service and help them to use this information to stimulate more Americans to answer the Presidents Call to Service.
Current plans include collection of the volunteer service indicators in September 2003, and in subsequent years if resources permit. The Current Population Survey has been used to measure volunteer service activity episodically in the past, with surveys conducted in 1965, 1974, and 1989, but survey design and technology have improved significantly since that time. The data collected in the Current Population Survey September Supplement is expected to be available as a baseline for the measured behavior later this year.
In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush called on all Americans to make a lifetime commitment of at least two years of their lives to service to their communities, our country and the world. He created the USA Freedom Corps office at the White House to foster an American culture of service, citizenship and responsibility, and to make it easier for Americans to answer his Call to Service. This month, President Bush called upon all Americans to take part in a September of Service, by renewing, expanding or establishing their commitment to doing good.
For more information on the USA Freedom Corps or the USA Freedom Corps Volunteer Network, go to www.usafreedomcorps.gov or call 1-877-USA-CORPS.
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