Scottish Household Survey 2017, more people volunteering although inclusion challenges persist

4 September 2018

The Scottish Government have just released the results of the latest Scottish Household Survey for 2017.

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The Scottish Household Survey still provides the very best view we have on who volunteers across Scotland. This latest survey on formal volunteering shows that 28% of adults in Scotland volunteered at least once in 2017, a marginal (but very encouraging) increase from 27% in 2016.

The results of the survey can be found here (opens as PDF). Some of the key high-level findings are shown below:

  • More women (30%) continue to volunteer than men (26%), with the gap slightly widening compared to 2016 when 29% of women volunteered vs. 26% of men.
  • There has been a decrease in volunteer participation rates for young people aged 16 – 34, with a commensurate increase for those aged 35 to 75+ (2016 rates in brackets):
    • 16 – 24 years = 29% (32%)
    • 25 – 34 years = 23% (27%)
    • 35 – 44 years = 33% (29%)
    • 45 – 59 years = 29% (27%) 
    • 60 – 74 years = 30% (28%) 
    • 75+ years = 20% (18%) 
  • The rate of volunteering in rural areas is higher than in urban areas, with 31% of adults in both remote rural areas and in accessible rural areas volunteering compared to around a quarter of adults in large and other urban areas (26% and 27% respectively).
  • Levels of volunteering increase as area deprivation decreases, with 19% of adults in the 20% most deprived areas volunteering (18% in 2016) compared to 37% in the 20% least deprived areas (based on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation).
  • Volunteer participation generally increases with household income, with over a fifth of adults in households in the lowest net income bands (£0-£20,000) volunteering, compared to almost two-fifths (39%) of those with a net household income of more than £40,000.
  • There’s also variation in volunteering according to people’s current economic situation. Those in ‘education (including HE/FE)’, those who are ‘self-employed’, and those in ‘part-time employment’ are the most likely to volunteer (all 32%). Whereas only 13% of adults who are ‘permanently sick or have short-term ill-health issues or are disabled’ volunteer (11% in 2016). Nearly one-quarter (24%) of those ‘unemployed and seeking work’ have volunteered in the past 12 months.

We'll be providing our own interpretations of this data over the next few days and weeks. In the meantime, we'd be very interested in any comments you have.

2018 SHS volunteering data - for information, the 2018 data will include informal as well as formal volunteering data for the first time. This is due to be published in Sept 2019.

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