Briefs & Summaries International Service

Volunteering and Measures of Human Development

Through volunteering, millions of people actively participate in the work of overcoming challenges to human development. But how do differences in income, gender, access to education, labor-force participation, and other factors influence people’s participation in volunteering? Created as part of a global research agenda to inform connections between volunteering and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, this brief reports results on correlations between national rates of volunteering (both formal and informal) and key indicators of human development. The findings suggest that differences in levels of human development, standards of living, and other key indicators play roles in whether a nation’s residents volunteer.

Project: Advancing Research & Policy on International Volunteer Service


Lough, B. J. (2019, July). Volunteering and measures of human development (CSD Research Brief No. 19-28). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.