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Volunteerism - Ages 65+
Volunteerism - Ages 65+ in Alabama

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Alabama Value:


Percentage of adults ages 65 and older who reported volunteering in the past 12 months

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Volunteerism - Ages 65+ by State

Percentage of adults ages 65 and older who reported volunteering in the past 12 months

Volunteerism - Ages 65+ Trends

Percentage of adults ages 65 and older who reported volunteering in the past 12 months

Trend: Volunteerism - Ages 65+ in Alabama, United States, 2023 Senior Report

Percentage of adults ages 65 and older who reported volunteering in the past 12 months

United States

 U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Volunteering and Civic Life Supplement

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About Volunteerism - Ages 65+

US Value: 22.1%

Top State(s): Utah: 44.2%

Bottom State(s): Louisiana: 14.7%

Definition: Percentage of adults ages 65 and older who reported volunteering in the past 12 months

Data Source and Years: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Volunteering and Civic Life Supplement, 2021

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Volunteering and Civic Life Supplement, United Health Foundation,, accessed 2023.

After retirement, some older adults may choose to spend their free time volunteering. Volunteering provides a service for communities and organizations, and for volunteers, it can provide positive social interactions, a greater level of social support and a sense of meaning and purpose

Volunteering also allows older adults to learn new things, promoting cognitive function. There is emerging evidence that older adults who volunteer regularly have fewer cognitive complaints and a lower risk for dementia compared with those who do not volunteer regularly. In addition to the cognitive benefits, studies show that older adults who volunteer have better health outcomes than non-volunteering older adults, including reduced symptoms of depression, better self-reported health, fewer functional limitations and lower mortality.

AmeriCorps also found that older volunteers experienced decreased depression, anxiety and feelings of loneliness. 84% of AmeriCorps Seniors participants reported that volunteering helped improve their health after one year of service. 

While many older adults show an interest in volunteering, some face barriers that prevent them from doing so. Some common barriers include lack of mobility, lack of transportation, lack of information about volunteer opportunities and health issues. External factors such as religion may also influence who volunteers as an older adult.

Older adults who are more likely to volunteer include:

  • White adults compared with Black adults. This racial disparity may be due to fewer economic resources and more disadvantaged neighborhood and social environments among Black populations.
  • Older adults with higher levels of education compared with those with lower levels of education.
  • Low-income senior housing residents compared with low-income older adults not living in senior housing.
  • Older women compared with older men.

The AARP website has resources for finding volunteer opportunities in your area based on interest. AmeriCorps, a federal agency that engages people in volunteer work, has a program called AmeriCorps Seniors centered around volunteer opportunities for adults ages 55 and older.

Anderson, Nicole D., Thecla Damianakis, Edeltraut Kröger, Laura M. Wagner, Deirdre R. Dawson, Malcolm A. Binns, Syrelle Bernstein, Eilon Caspi, Suzanne L. Cook, and The BRAVO Team. 2014. “The Benefits Associated with Volunteering among Seniors: A Critical Review and Recommendations for Future Research.” Psychological Bulletin 140 (6): 1505–33.

Fried, Linda P., Michelle C. Carlson, Marc Freedman, Kevin D. Frick, Thomas A. Glass, Joel Hill, Sylvia McGill, et al. 2004. “A Social Model for Health Promotion for an Aging Population: Initial Evidence on the Experience Corps Model.” Journal of Urban Health 81 (1): 64–78.

Gonzales, Ernest, Huei-Wern Shen, Yi Wang, Linda Sprague Martinez, and Julie Norstrand. 2016. “Race and Place: Exploring the Intersection of Inequity and Volunteerism Among Older Black and White Adults.” Journal of Gerontological Social Work 59 (5): 381–400.

Griep, Yannick, Linda Magnusson Hanson, Tim Vantilborgh, Laurens Janssens, Samantha K. Jones, and Martin Hyde. 2017. “Can Volunteering in Later Life Reduce the Risk of Dementia? A 5-Year Longitudinal Study among Volunteering and Non-Volunteering Retired Seniors.” Edited by Gianluigi Forloni. PLOS ONE 12 (3): e0173885.

Jongenelis, Michelle, N. Biagioni, S. Pettigrew, J. Warburton, R. Newton, and B. Jackson. 2017. “Volunteering Engagement In Seniors: Barriers and Facilitators.” Innovation in Aging 1 (suppl_1): 1263–64.

Kent, Mary. 2011. “Volunteering and Health for Aging Populations.” Today’s Research on Aging, no. 21 (August).

Musich, Shirley, Shaohung S. Wang, Sandra Kraemer, Kevin Hawkins, and Ellen Wicker. 2018. “Purpose in Life and Positive Health Outcomes Among Older Adults.” Population Health Management 21 (2): 139–47.

Park, S., B. Kim, and J. Cho. 2016. “Volunteering Among Low-Income Older Individuals: Does Senior Housing Matter?” The Gerontologist 56 (Suppl_3): 344–45.

Pilkington, Pamela D., Tim D. Windsor, and Dimity A. Crisp. 2012. “Volunteering and Subjective Well-Being in Midlife and Older Adults: The Role of Supportive Social Networks.” The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 67B (2): 249–60.

Tang, Fengyan. 2008. “Socioeconomic Disparities in Voluntary Organization Involvement Among Older Adults.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 37 (1): 57–75.

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