Peace Corps Announces Top Volunteer-Producing States and Metropolitan Areas in 2016

Washington, D.C. Metro Area reclaims no.1 spot for first time since 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 20, 2016 – The Peace Corps today released its 2016 rankings of the top volunteer-producing states and metropolitan areas across the country. For the first time in six years, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria is the largest metropolitan-area producer of volunteers, bumping longtime leader New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island to no.2 on the total volunteers list this year. Vermont and California remain no.1 on the respective per capita and total volunteer-producing states lists. Montana has also made impressive strides this year with Missoula, Montana making its first appearance since 2011 in the no.1 spot for top metro areas per capita and The Treasure State climbing to no.3 on the list of top states per capita.

For the first time, the District of Columbia and surrounding states appear on this year’s top states per capita rankings with D.C., Maryland and Virginia sitting at no.2, no.7 and no.8, respectively. This is Maryland’s first time in recent history on both the top states per capita (no.7) and total top states (no.9) lists. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria (no.6) joined fellow rankings newcomers Idaho Falls, Idaho (no.5) and East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania (no.10) on the top metro areas per capita. This year is the sixth-consecutive year that Washington State has appeared in all four ranking categories and, for the first time, shares the honor this year with Virginia and Maryland. 

"During my time leading the Peace Corps, I have seen the tremendous impact that volunteers have when they share their unique hometown perspectives with the communities they serve,” said Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Volunteers represent our nation's rich diversity by coming from all corners of the U.S. They are able to share our nation's rich cultural heritage with communities around the world, leaving a legacy of peace and friendship that is timeless."

This year’s rankings follow the launch of a refreshed Peace Corps brand platform that embraces a digitally focused communications approach to make the agency more accessible to all audiences across the United States through the platforms they already use. Sweeping reforms in the application and recruitment system ensure that Peace Corps continues to build a volunteer corps of Americans from all walks of life. Applicants will now find a simplified, more personal application process, and can learn more by visiting the Peace Corps website and connecting with a recruiter.

Below find the nation’s top 10 volunteer-producing states and metropolitan areas for 2016. View the list of volunteer numbers from all 50 states here.

2016 Top States – Per Capita (# of volunteers per 100,000 residents)

1. Vermont – 8.3

2. District of Columbia – 8.2

3. Montana – 5.0

4. Washington – 4.5

5. Minnesota – 4.3

5. Alaska – 4.3

7. Maryland – 4.0

8. Virginia – 3.9

8. Colorado – 3.9

8. Oregon – 3.9

8. Maine – 3.9

8. Rhode Island – 3.9


2016 Top States – Total Volunteers

1. California – 916

2. New York – 449

3. Virginia – 328

4. Washington – 317

5. Florida – 313

6. Illinois – 301

7. Pennsylvania – 300

8. Texas – 277

9. Maryland – 241

10. Michigan – 239


2016 Top Metropolitan Areas – Per Capita (# of volunteers per 100,000 residents)

1. Missoula, MT – 12.3

2. Burlington-South Burlington, VT – 8.3

3. Olympia, WA – 8.2

4. Santa Fe, NM – 6.7

5. Idaho Falls, ID – 6.4

6. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV – 6.3

6. Boulder, CO – 6.3

8. Madison, WI – 6.2

8. Bremerton-Silverdale, WA – 6.2

10. East Stroudsburg, PA – 6.0

10. Iowa City, IA – 6.0


2016 Top Metropolitan Areas – Total Volunteers

1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV – 386

2. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA – 379

3. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA – 283

4. Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI – 245

5. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI – 180

6. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA – 178

7. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH – 176

8. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD – 154

9. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA – 140

10. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA – 136


*Peace Corps data current as of September 30, 2016. The metropolitan area data used to determine Peace Corps’ rankings are derived from the most current U.S. Census Bureau “Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area” data. Volunteers self-report their home city and state on their Peace Corps application.  

# # #

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, Volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 225,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact us

All contacts
Call toll-free

Get press releases emailed to you right when they are issued.

Sign up now