When it comes to the top altruistic metro areas, Twin Cities residents uphold their reputation of "Minnesota nice," whereas people in Miami appear to be too busy at the beach.
Volunteering in America released a report this week of volunteer rates in top cities nationwide from 2008 to 2010.
Overall, the number of volunteers dropped last year by half a percentage point, to 26.3 percent, the report said.
Robert Velasco, acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, tells USA Today that it's nothing to worry about.
"It's a very small dip and one year's data is not representative of a trend," he said.
Besides reporting the number of people giving back, the study explored possible explanations for a city's volunteer rate by examining factors such as education, poverty and foreclosure numbers.
See the full ranking at Volunteering in America, and check for your state in the slideshow below.
SLIDESHOW: Best And Worst States At Volunteering
With the government shutdown and the state's polarizing political candidates, the headlines about Minnesota have been anything but positive. But its residents still maintain their legendary reputation as being "Minnesota nice." The Minneapolis-St. Paul area had a volunteer rate of 37.1 percent, earning the No. 1 spot. Giving back has long been tied to an attachment to one's community, indicated by home ownership, the study says. A whopping 72.4 percent of Twin Cities residents own their home, compared to the 65.9 percent nationwide rate. In addition, the city has more nonprofits than other metros, making volunteering opportunities easier to come by.
Hoards of young, idealistic transplants -- and lots of beer -- make for a simply friendly city. Portland comes in second place with an average of 36.2 percent of residents volunteering from 2008 to 2010. At an average of 42.9 hours each, do-gooders help give Portland its consistent rating as one of the greenest cities as well.
The Salt Lake City area may be known for its snow, but its people are some of the warmest. 34.1 percent of its residents volunteered from 2008 to 2010. Besides the obvious connection between religion and service, a higher level of volunteering usually accompanies a lower level of poverty. Salt Lake City's poverty rate of 9.9 percent comes in well below the national 14.3 percent.
Seattle is more than just bikes, Birkenstocks and beans -- coffee, that is. 33.9 percent of its residents volunteered from 2008-2010. At 44 hours each, the residents' dedication to altruistic acts may have to do with hitting the books. Volunteering levels increase with education, according to the study. In Seattle, 37.4 percent have a degree, compared to 27.9 percent at the national level.
The connection between academics and selflessness may be the reason why only 19.9 percent of Riverside, CA residents volunteered between 2008 and 2010. At the national level, 85.3 percent of Americans hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent, but in Riverside only 78.6 percent have graduated from the 12th grade. When it comes to college, 27.9 percent have earned that diploma, whereas only 19.2 percent have a college degree in Riverside.
Over in Sin City, helping someone pull the slot machine lever doesn't count as volunteering. Between 2008 and 2010, just 19 percent of Las Vegas resident offered up their time for others -- 6.3 percentage points lower than the national average. Those who did do some good, each clocked in 33.4 hours. Locals may be less inclined to help because the number of nonprofits in the area is far less than the national average. Nationally, there's an average of 4.55 nonprofit organizations per 1,000 residents. But, Vegas just has 2.02 nonprofits per 1,000 city residents.
It's the city that never sleeps, but don't blame the nightlife for the lack of volunteering. Only 17.2 percent of Gothamites gave back to their communities at an average of 22 hours per resident. But when you live in a city overflowing with apartments and condos -- not single-family dwellings -- such low benevolent numbers are to be expected, the report found. Nationally, 32.7 percent of people live in multi-unit housing, while New York has a rate of 57.3 percent.
Miami's steamy nightlife -- and daylife -- provide reason enough why this beach city ranked dead last in the Volunteers In America rankings. Just 15.2 percent of residents gave over their free time to helping others, between 2008 and 2010, at an average of 17.8 hours each. But, enticing sands and waves aren't entirely to blame. High unemployment rates often coincide with low volunteer rates, the study found, and Miami's hit 11.2 percent last year, 1.4 percentage points higher than the national rate.