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Resulting Global Estimates of Volunteering

The methodological procedures described in the preceding section allow us to bring the global scale of volunteer work into clearer focus. More specifically, three conclusions emerge from these estimates.

Aggregate scale of volunteer workforce

In the first place, we are now in a position to provide an aggregate estimate of the size of the global volunteer workforce. As shown in Table 2.3, that total amounts to the equivalent of 126.2 million full-time workers.

To put this figure into context, it is useful to compare it to the total size of the workforce of some entire countries. This is done in Fig. 2.1, which compares the global full-time equivalent volunteer workforce to the entire economically active populations of the world’s seven largest countries as measured by the size of their economically active populations.[1]

  • [1] As this figure shows “Volunteerland,” if there were such a place, would command the fourth largest workforce in the world, behind only China, India, and the U.S., but ahead of Indonesia, Brazil,Russia, and Japan. And this takes no account of the fact, noted earlier, that the actual number ofpeople engaged in volunteer work is much larger than this due to the fact that most people volunteer for relatively brief periods of time so that the actual number of people represented by these 126million FTE workers is really many times that. In fact, in earlier estimates we have put that figureat 971 million people (Salamon et al., 2011, p. 237).
 
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