States See Large Increases in Peace Corps Volunteers

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 15, 2005 From California to Vermont, states across the union had more of their residents become Peace Corps volunteers this year, as the agency reached a 30 year high in the number of volunteers in service.

Although states from every area of the country experienced growth, several states saw marked increases in the number of volunteers. Most notable were Vermont and Oklahoma, which saw the highest percentage wise increases. The number of residents who became volunteers from Vermont increased 33 percent to 56 volunteers in service. Vermont also had the highest per capita number of volunteers in the field, as one out of every 8,200 adults is currently a volunteer.

Oklahoma saw the highest percentage increase in volunteers, 42 percent, as 82 of their citizens currently serve in the Peace Corps.

"The success of the Peace Corps is due to the increasing number of Americans willing to share their talents and devote two years of their life to communities across the world. From the skyscrapers of New York to the farmlands of Indiana, an unprecedented number of Americans accepted the challenge of living and working with communities across the globe and sharing their varied backgrounds and traditions," said Director Gaddi H. Vasquez.

Michigan had the highest overall increase in number of volunteers, as 32 more citizens than last year joined the Peace Corps and helped them pass the 300 mark for volunteers currently in service. Overall, California continues to produce the most Peace Corps volunteers, as 878 are currently in service.

To view the list of all states and the volunteers who call that state home, visit the Media Resources section.

Since 1961, more than 182,000 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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