The US uncompensated volunteerism industry

The US for profit healthcare industry rests upon a vast ocean of uncompensated volunteerism:

Heavy toll endured by ‘invisible’ unpaid caregivers. A study published yesterday in the JAMA Network medical journal seems to state the obvious. Family members and friends who step up to help elderly or disabled adults sacrifice their own well-being.

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In 2009, about 42.1 million family caregivers in the United States provided care to an adult with limitations in daily activities at any given point in time, and about 61.6 million provided care at some time during the year. The estimated economic value of their unpaid contributions was approximately $450 billion in 2009, up from an estimated $375 billion in 2007.

Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update
The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving
Lynn Feinberg, Susan C. Reinhard, Ari Houser, and Rita Choula
AARP Public Policy Institute

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Family caregivers in the U.S. spend an estimated 30 billion hours per year caring for older family and friends. That’s about $522 billion in care, according to a new Rand Corp. study, as measured by valuing the time caregivers have sacrificed in order to be able to provide care. – See more at:

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Latest Estimated Value of Volunteer Time via Independent Sector

National Value of Volunteer Time: $23.07 per hour

The estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Charitable organizations can use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 62.6 million Americans, or 25.4 percent of the adult population, gave 7.7 billion hours of volunteer service worth $173 billion in 2013.2 For the latest information, please see

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The volunteer rate was little changed at 25.3 percent for the year ending in September 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. About 62.8 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2013 and September 2014. The volunteer rate in 2013 was 25.4 percent.

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In economics, a time-based currency is an alternative currency or exchange system where the unit of account/value is the person-hour or some other time unit. Some time-based currencies value everyone’s contributions equally: one hour equals one service credit. In these systems, one person volunteers to work for an hour for another person; thus, they are credited with one hour, which they can redeem for an hour of service from another volunteer. Others use time units that might be fractions of an hour (e.g. minutes, ten minutes – 6 units/hour, or 15 minutes – 4 units/hour). While most time-based exchange systems are service exchanges in that most exchange involves the provision of services that can be measured in a time unit, it is also possible to exchange goods by ‘pricing’ them in terms of the average national hourly wage rate (e.g. if the average hourly rate is $20/hour, then a commodity valued at $20 in the national currency would be equivalent to 1 hour).