Peace Corps Announces Highest Number of Volunteers in 37 Years

October 23, 2007

Americans are Serving Overseas in Record Numbers

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 23, 2007 - Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter announced today that the agency has reached a 37-year high in the number of Peace Corps Volunteers serving overseas.

The official count for fiscal year 2007 includes 8,079 Volunteers serving in 74 countries throughout the world. This is an increase from the total in fiscal year 2006, when 7,749 Volunteers served, and is the highest number of Americans serving in the Peace Corps since 1970.

"It is with great pleasure that I announce a record number of Americans serving as Peace Corps Volunteers around the world," said Director Tschetter. "We are very proud of our Peace Corps Volunteers' commitment to helping others in need. The number of Volunteers we have in the field today is a reflection of that great American spirit of volunteerism, and of serving one's country through service to others."

The Peace Corps today provides diverse and structured programs that match Volunteer skills with community needs in countries overseas. Volunteers work in the sectors of education, health and HIV/AIDS prevention, agriculture, environment, business, information technology, and youth development.

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has also enabled the Peace Corps to increase its response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. PEPFAR funding was used to place 195 Peace Corps and Crisis Corps Volunteers overseas to work exclusively on HIV/AIDS prevention projects. Crisis Corps is a program within the Peace Corps that mobilizes returned Volunteers to provide short-term humanitarian assistance.

The Peace Corps has also seen an increase in minority recruitment, where numbers have reached their highest level since the Peace Corps began tracking ethnicity in 1987. Minorities now comprise 17 percent of all Peace Corps Volunteers. New radio and print public service announcements are currently being used to encourage minorities to apply.

Additionally this fiscal year, Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Cambodia for the first time, and Peace Corps reopened its post in Ethiopia. In 2008, the Peace Corps also plans to send Crisis Corps Volunteers to Liberia.

Ninety-five percent of Volunteers have at least a bachelor's degree, with 11 percent having a master's degree or higher. Women comprised 59 percent of all Volunteers. Seniors aged 50 and over represent 5 percent of Volunteers, with the average age of a Volunteer being 27 years old.

Since 1961, over 190,000 Volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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