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This paper provides an overview of the data situation and the potential for analysis with regard to empirical-quantitative analyses of voluntary engagement in rural areas. The overview focuses on representative data sources and the question of their potential to compare urban and rural areas as well as small-scale sub-national units. The possibilities and limits of each data source are presented here. In conclusion, data on volunteerism in rural areas is insufficient. In most cases purposeful or sophisticated analyses are not possible due to numerous data gaps and inadequate methods in the collected data, as well as comparability problems. Thus, the data situation with regard to volunteerism in rural areas is not satisfactory, and there’s an extended need for data. A Germany-wide survey on volunteerism, representatively displaying the rural areas of Germany, is desirable. However, considering the high expense of such a study, an alternative could be to generate first insights into central topics with a needs-oriented analysis of individual areas. Like-wise, it should be examined whether data requirements for small-scale analyses could be covered by official statistics. Ultimately, I recommend the building and supporting of structures which facilitate data migration for focused analyses, especially survey data and structural data.


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