Nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) participate in some type of community group or organization, including about one-in-ten (11%) who say they participate in four or more community groups, according to a new analysis of data from a December 2017 Pew Research Center survey.
Participation rates are even higher among the roughly seven-in-ten Americans who say it is important to belong to a community that shares their values. Among this group, the share who participate in at least one organization (62%) is substantially higher than the 44% of all others who say they are involved in their community in one of these ways.
The December 2017 survey asked people if they were active in 10 specific types of community groups and organizations: church groups, hobby groups, charitable or volunteer organizations, professional associations, community groups, book clubs, parent groups or youth organizations, social clubs, performing arts groups and veterans’ groups. It also gave respondents the chance to say they are involved in some “other” type of group or organization (beyond the ones listed above).
Generally, adults who are better educated and wealthier are more likely to be involved in some community or other group. A majority of college graduates are active in at least one community group, while only half of those with a high school education say the same (70% vs. 48%). And two-thirds of those who have a household income of at least $75,000 say they are active in at least one community group, compared with 47% of those with a household income of $30,000 or less.
There also are some differences along age and racial/ethnic lines. Notably, adults who have reached retirement age are more likely to be involved – two-thirds of Americans ages 65 and older say they participate in at least one community organization, compared with 55% of younger adults. And blacks (62%) and whites (59%) are more likely than Hispanics (49%) to say they are active in at least one community group.
Among religious groups, about six-in-ten Protestants (61%) say they participate in at least one group, with 12% saying they are active in four or more organizations. And about seven-in-ten Jews (72%) say they participate in at least one community group or organization, including a quarter (24%) who participate in four or more. By comparison, fewer Catholics (53%) and religiously unaffiliated adults (51%) say they participate in one or more community groups.