Fewer volunteers, more informal care providers

In 2002 six in ten people aged over 18 were active as volunteers or care provider for friends, family or acquaintances. This means that the participation rate in volunteer work and informal care have not changed since 1997.

Volunteers and informal care providers

Fewer young volunteers

In 2002 some 42 percent of people over 18 reported that they had been active as volunteers in the previous year. In the period 1997-2000 this was 45 percent. The number of volunteers fell slightly among men, from 46 to 43 percent, and among women – from 44 to 41 percent.

The substantial decrease in the number of volunteers among the 18 to 25 year-olds is striking: from 48 percent in 2000 to 34 in 2002. At the same time the share of young people working in paid jobs on the side increased, which means young people have less time for volunteer work.

Volunteers by age, 2002

More informal care providers

While volunteer work decreased, there is a slight increase in unorganised help, such as the informal help given to friends, family or acquaintances. Until 2000 about 31 percent was involved in providing such help. After that time it increased to 33 and 35 percent. Women are more active in this than men. People aged between 55 and 65 provide most help, namely 41 percent. The age groups between 18 and 25, 65 and 75 (33 percent) and over 75 (22 percent) are the least active.

Informal care providers by age, 2002

Miriam van Baal and Hans Schmeets

Source: StatLine