Characteristics of young volunteers age 15-29 and comments on the data collection methodologies

Miklós Gyorgyovich


The development and study of volunteer activities of young people – both in the European Union and in Hungary – is regulated by youth and volunteering strategies. The aim of this study is to present the characteristics of young Hungarian volunteers (aged 15-29 years) and to discuss the issues and challenges in the methodology that arise during the study of volunteering. Consequently, on the one hand, I will describe the characteristics of young Hungarians between the ages of 15 and 29 who identify as volunteers by means of a secondary analysis of the most recently available Hungarian Youth 2020 database, including an overview of their general demographic, social stratification, school, and occupational mobility status. On the other hand, within the possibilities offered by the database, I will analyse the nature, type, and appearance of their volunteer work. The results of the research show that only 8 percent of the 15-29 year olds had worked as volunteers during the year prior to the survey, while previous research showed rates three to five times higher. To interpret and explain this discrepancy, in the second part of the paper, I will draw on research on volunteering over the last decade and a half and will discuss the methodological approach of the research that also measures the volunteer activities of young people, pointing out that it is probably not the proportion of volunteers that has fluctuated significantly, but the malleable volunteering behaviour of some respondents who are sensitive to the methodology of the questionnaire.

Keywords: youth, volunteering, methodology, secondary research, quantitative data collection