The number of volunteers as defined by Belgian legislation (people who do unpaid work through organisations) has reached almost 1,166,000 people (12.5% of people aged 15 and over), according to the King Baudoin Foundation’s latest report, published on Monday. This data was first compiled in Belgium in 2014.
Belgian volunteers work some 221.2 million hours per year, which represents 4.1% of paid work hours and almost 130,000 full time work positions.
The most popular sectors for volunteering are sport (19.4% of all activities), culture and socio-cultural activities (18.9%), social work (16.5%), and education and training (14.3%),.
Every age group volunteers, with people aged 40-49 proportionately more active. More or less as many men as women volunteer, although they are involved in different sectors. Men are more active with sports, and women tend to prefer education, training, and research, as well as religious organisations.
People with a university degree or a master’s represent almost half of volunteers, and working volunteers represent 57% of the total, whereas pensioners make up one fifth.
Lastly, taking into account volunteers helping outside an organised structure brings the Belgian total up to 1,800,000 people, that is, 19.4% of the population aged 15 or over.