Most volunteer work is in sports organisations


Nearly half of all parents with school-aged children have carried out unpaid work for a sports team in the last year.


The survey on living conditions 2017 maps the Norwegian population’s participation in organisations. In the population as a whole, 4 in 10 are active members of at least one organisation, and almost as many have done volunteer work during the last 12 months.

Active membership here refers to participation in members’ meetings, training or similar activities, whereas volunteer work includes unpaid work such as coaching, board work etc.

Active parents in sports
Sports teams are the type of organisation that has the largest proportion of active members, with 15 per cent of persons aged 16 or older regarding themselves as an active member of a sports team.

In comparison, 8 per cent are active members of a music, theatre or art organisation, and 6 per cent are active members of a non-profit organisation within the environment, human rights or humanitarian issues.

The most active groups in sports organisations are young people living with their parents and parents of children under 19. While young people are more often active members of a sports team, their parents do more volunteer work.

Nearly half – 44 per cent – of couples with children aged 7-19 years have carried out such volunteer work for a sports team during the past 12 months.

More members with a higher education and a job
Those who are employed or have a higher education more often participate in organisations than those who are unemployed or disabled, or persons whose highest level of education is primary or lower secondary level.

Among persons with only a compulsory education, 67 per cent are not active members of any organisation, compared to 48 per cent of holders of a master’s degree. The corresponding shares among disabled and unemployed persons are 72 and 76 per cent respectively.

Persons who work and those who hold a higher degree are also the most active within sports organisations. Twenty-two per cent of persons with a master’s degree or equivalent are active members of a sports team, compared to 12 per cent of persons with a primary/lower secondary education.

The same pattern is found for volunteer work. However, those who are not active in the labour market, but still carry out volunteer work appear to spend at least as many hours on unpaid work in the course of a year as those who are employed.

Weak decline in participation over time
Despite the popularity of sports organisations, the proportion of the population who are active members in such organisations has declined somewhat over the past 20 years.

There has been a weak decline in the proportion who are members of a sports team from 28 per cent of the population in 1997 to 25 per cent in 2017. A similar decline is found for the proportion who are active members, from 18 to 15 per cent of the population.

Lower participation in Oslo and Akershus

Generally, participation in organisations is slightly lower in Oslo and Akershus than in the rest of the country.

Furthermore, a smaller percentage of persons living in the Oslo area have carried out volunteer work during the past year: 34 per cent compared to 40 per cent in the rest of Eastern Norway and Western Norway, and 41 per cent in Agder and Rogaland.

Although sports teams have the most active members throughout the country, their popularity varies to some extent between regions.

Religious associations are more popular in Agder and Rogaland than in the rest of the country, and the largest proportion who have volunteered for a residents’ association, community group or similar is found in Western Norway.


Source: SSB / Norway Today