Young Americans Interest in Volunteer Vacations Continues to Climb
San Diego, July 6, 2009 — The number of Americans interested in volunteer vacations continues to climb, according to a new University of California San Diego Extension survey, but there are dramatic differences between the generations.
Two-thirds of high school students and about half of the college students surveyed say they have participated in discussions in the past year related to traveling to other regions to provide volunteer service, whereas less than half of the adult population, and only one-quarter of retirees, say they have done so.
Overall, the survey found that over two-thirds (69 percent) of Americans have participated in donating money or time to a global cause, up from the 48 percent in a spring 2008 poll conducted by UC San Diego Extension.
“More and more people in all stages of life are thinking of becoming global 'voluntourists'," says Bob Benson, director of the Center for Global Volunteer Service at UC San Diego Extension. "People are looking to volunteer their time in meaningful ways that make contributions to people in regions other than their own, and younger people are especially eager to make voluntourism part of their lifestyle.”
The 2009 poll was conducted by Caravan Opinion Research Corporation during March 2009 by telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults, and supplemented by an in-depth online survey of more than 300 adults conducted in May 2009 by UC San Diego Extension. The margin of error was plus or minus three percentage points.
The top five types of volunteer assignments the survey respondents want are:
1. Education or artistic and cultural development 23 percent
2. Provide spiritual or emotional assistance 19 percent
3. Improve health and nutrition 18 percent
4. Construct roads, homes and technology infrastructure 14 percent
5. Environmental clean up or agriculture assistance 12 percent