Peace Corps Announces Top Volunteer-Producing States

November 10, 2008

California, New York, and Illinois Lead the U.S. in Producing Peace Corps Volunteers

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 10, 2008 Peace Corps Volunteers hail from all corners of the nation, bringing with them a desire to serve and build friendships around the globe. Today, Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter announced the annual top Volunteer-producing "Home States" results after data was recently released on the number of currently serving Volunteers from around the country.

The data revealed changes in the rankings of many states, as well as new entries into the top five Volunteer-producing states. To view a list of the Peace Corps Home States statistics on the Peace Corps website, click here.

"Peace Corps Volunteers come from all over the U.S. and represent America's rich diversity. They bring unique backgrounds, knowledge, and experience to the 76 countries in which they serve overseas," said Peace Corps Director Tschetter. "We are delighted to see a heightened interest in global service, and are pleased to see that there is still a great interest on the part of Americans throughout the country to serve in the Peace Corps."

California was ranked, once again, the No. 1 Volunteer-producing state, with 911 Peace Corps Volunteers currently serving. California has maintained this rank for the past seven years and has also experienced the highest increase in Volunteers, gaining more than 140 since 2002. Since 1961, over 26,249 California residents have served in the Peace Corps, the largest historical number of Volunteers across the nation.

With 438 Volunteers, New York ranked No. 2 this year, a title also maintained for the last seven years. This state has the second highest historical number of Volunteers, with 12, 017 Volunteers having served since in 1961.

Illinois rose from No. 4 last year, to this year's No. 3 producer of Volunteers. Currently, 368 Volunteers from Illinois are serving. Virginia and Michigan followed closely to make it into this year's top five category. Virginia, currently ranked No. 4, has re-entered the top five with 351 Volunteers in the field. Michigan entered the top five for the first time, ranking No. 5 with 342 Volunteers serving.

Vermont achieved the highest per capita numbers of Volunteers in the field, with close to 10 Peace Corps Volunteers out of every 100,000 Vermont residents. Over 60 Vermont residents are currently serving in the Peace Corps, an increase of 12 since last year. The District of Columbia represents the second highest per capita number of Volunteers, with just over 8 Volunteers for every 100,000 residents. Oregon ranked third, with around 6 Volunteers serving for every 100,000 Oregonians.

This year, Ohio had the highest overall increase in the number of Volunteers, with 42 additional Ohio residents going into the Peace Corps since 2007. Today, there are 334 Volunteers from Ohio serving around the globe. Since 2002, California, New York, and Virginia have experienced the highest gains in Volunteers, each increasing more than 85 Volunteers. Other notable increases per state, each gaining 40 or more Volunteers in the last seven years, include: Illinois, Michigan, Washington, Ohio, Oregon, North Carolina, Indiana, Georgia, and Kansas.

Hawaii again experienced a remarkable percent change in the number of Volunteers, from 21 in 2007 to 36 in 2008, an increase of over 70 percent. Vermont and Kentucky each experienced nearly 25 percent increases of Volunteers in the last year. They were closely followed by Rhode Island and West Virginia, each experiencing between 15 and 25 percent increases.

As the Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world. Historically, over 195,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries in which they have served. Applications to serve in the Peace Corps have increased 16 percent this past year, the largest boost in the last 5 years. Currently, 7,876 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in 76 countries. 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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