Many organizations and initiatives depend on volunteers – from sports clubs to volunteer fire departments to refugee aid projects. According to the results of a new study based on data from Living in Germany, currently around one in three people in Germany is involved in volunteer work, and the percentage is rising. People in rural areas are especially active in volunteer activities.
Volunteerism is higher in more prosperous regions, where the level of education is high and unemployment is low. “In structurally weak rural regions, on the other hand, efforts need to be made to catch up,” says SOEP researcher Luise Burkhardt, who conducted the study together with a colleague at the Thünen Institute. In these regions, migration and population aging as well as a lack of digital infrastructure make it difficult for people to pursue volunteer activities.
It is striking that volunteerism is more common among men than women. he researchers suspect that the reason could be a persistence of traditional gender roles in rural areas, where women are often still more involved in childcare and housework.