Residents of metropolitan Los Angeles and California’s Inland Empire don’t get high marks when it comes to neighborly love.
A new study from AmeriCorps and the U.S. Census Bureau titled “Volunteering and Civic Life in America” shows metro L.A. and the Riverside area have some of the lowest rates of volunteerism among the nation’s largest cities.
The data was gathered from September 2020-21 and ranked 12 metro areas based on formal volunteering, like belonging to an organization, and “informal helping,” defined as exchanging favors with a neighbor.
Riverside ranked dead last in formal volunteering with just 9% of those surveyed saying they belong to an organization that helps others. Miami was second to last with 14%, and metro L.A. was third from the bottom with 15.1%.
The City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, lived up to its nickname with the highest formal volunteering rate in the nation at 28.7%.
SoCal didn’t fare much better on the “informal helping” list.
Los Angeles was third from the bottom with 41.7% of the population saying they exchanged favors with neighbors during the survey period. The Riverside metro area was 44.2%.
Miami (35.5%) was the lowest. Boston (57.9%) and Philadelphia (57.8%) were essentially tied with the highest informal helping rates.
Despite the low marks, AmeriCorps notes that Angelenos still give back to their community in large numbers and dollars.
The study found 1,523,413 formal volunteers contributed 66.4 million hours of service through organizations worth an estimated $2.4 billion in 2021, and more than 30% of residents donated $25 or more to charity.