Ready by 21 Dashboard

Outcome: Socially and Civically Engaged

Percent of youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who have volunteered within the last year

26.7% of youth between the ages of 16 and 24 in the Austin Metropolitan Statistical Area report volunteering in the past year

Significance of Indicator: According to research cited by Youth Service America, youth volunteering provides a number of benefits, including reducing risky behavior, improved academic success, a better chance of finding employment, and stronger connections to community service and philanthropy as adults.

what the data tell us

In 2014, about 26.7% of youth between ages 16 and 24 in the 5-County Austin Metropolitan Area reported volunteering in the past year, about equal to the 20.5% of Texas youth and 21.9% of youth nationwide who volunteer. Due to small sample sizes, data should be interpreted with caution. Year-to-year changes generally do not represent statistically-significant differences.

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Definition: The percentage of people between the ages of 16 and 24 who have volunteered in the past year

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, collected via Data Ferret

Data Considerations: Margins of error for single-year Current Population Survey data, particularly at the local level, are relatively large and should be interpreted with caution. Year-to-year differences and differences between geographic areas are typically not statistically significant at the 90% level.

The story behind the indicator

In 2014, about 26.7% of youth between ages 16 and 24 in the 5-County Austin Metropolitan Area reported volunteering in the past year, about equal to the 20.5% of Texas youth and 21.9% of youth nationwide who volunteer. Austin ISD seniors report participating in community service at a higher rate, with two-thirds reporting that they volunteered during high school.

According to Volunteering in America, several factors correlate with overall rates of volunteering, including higher rates of home ownership, lower levels of foreclosures, less lengthy commute times, higher levels of education, lower unemployment, lower levels of poverty, and greater numbers of community groups in an area. A study by the Corporation for National and Community Service and Independent Sector, Building Active Citizens: The Role of Social Institutions in Teen Volunteering, found that youth are more likely to volunteer when their parents volunteer. Volunteering can be associated with positive outcomes for individuals who engage in civic activity. A report by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that volunteering was associated with higher odds of employment for those out of work, particularly for people living in rural areas and people without a high school degree.

some local efforts to improve this indicator

the story behind the indicator

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community service, Austin ISD

Austin ISD seniors appear to report volunteering at higher rates than youth between 16 and 24 overall. About two-thirds (64%) of seniors in the Class of 2014 reported participating in community service outside of school at some point during their high school career. This share seems to have risen slightly since the Class of 2012, when 54% of seniors reported participating in community service.

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Definition: Percent of Austin ISD seniors who report participating in community service outside of school at some point during high school

Data Source: Austin ISD, Department of Research and Evaluation, High School Exit Surveys

Data Considerations: Due to a change in the question, data from 2012 forward are not comparable to data from prior to 2012. High school exit surveys were administered to seniors in every Austin ISD high school during the Spring semester of each year. Response rates were: 76.4% (2012), 87.9% (2013), and 92% (2014). Surveys are representative of the entire senior class each year.

community service by number of years participating, Austin ISD

Volunteering among high school seniors appears to be split between students who volunteer consistently throughout high school and those who have not volunteered at all. In the Class of 2014, 34.8% of seniors reported participating in community service outside of school for 3 to 4 years, 29% reported participating for 1 to 2 years, and 36.2% reported participating in no community service outside of school during high school. Student participation in community service appears to have increased since the Class of 2012.

Click on this graph to download an excel spreadsheet with expanded information

Definition: Percent of Austin ISD seniors who report participating in community service outside of school for a given number of years during high school

Data Source: Austin ISD, Department of Research and Evaluation, High School Exit Surveys

Data Considerations: Due to a change in the question, data from 2012 forward are not comparable to data from prior to 2012. High school exit surveys were administered to seniors in every Austin ISD high school during the Spring semester of each year. Response rates were: 76.4% (2012), 87.9% (2013), and 92% (2014). Surveys are representative of the entire senior class each year.