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Boston has highest rate of helping others among top U.S. metropolitan cities, new survey finds

How helpful are Bostonians?

They are most helpful, according to a new survey released by AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, on Monday.

The survey, dubbed Volunteering and Civic Life in America, found Boston to have the highest rate of “informal helping” for the 12 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. in 2021.

Boston’s “informal helping” rate was 57.9%, the highest among the nation’s top metropolitan areas, the survey found.

Philadelphia ranked a close second, with a rate of 57.8%, and Chicago came in third on the list, with an “informal helping” rate of 54.6%.

“Informal helping involves assisting others outside of an organizational context, including doing favors for neighbors,” AmeriCorps said in a statement.

The rate of Americans informally helping others remained stable between the 2019 and 2021 surveys, AmeriCorps said.

Nearly 51 percent of Americans or 124.7 million people exchanged favors with their neighbors between September 2020 and 2021.

The survey also highlighted these trends nationally:

• Baby boomers had the highest informal helping rate (59 percent) of all generations;

• Veterans helped their neighbors at a rate of 59 percent, eight percentage points higher than non-veterans;

• People with children under 18 informally helped their neighbors at a higher rate (58 percent) than those without children in their household (49 percent).

AmeriCorps works with the U.S. Census Bureau to conduct the every two years about volunteerism and other forms of civic engagement in the country.

The survey follows civic engagement trends nationwide.

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