Twin Cities No. 1 in volunteering; Minnesota No. 4 among states

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Minnesota Nice is for real, a new survey says.

Residents of the Twin Cities are more generous in donating their time to charitable causes than people in all other U.S. cities, the report says.

The Twin Cities ranked No. 1 among 51 urban areas, with 37 percent of residents volunteering their time, the latest Volunteering and Civic Life in America survey says.

Among states, Minnesota ranks No. 4 for volunteerism. The top three were:

1. Utah
2. Idaho
3. Iowa

States with the fewest volunteers: New Jersey, Nevada, Hawaii, New York, Louisiana.

The report examined U.S. Census Bureau data for 2011, when the number of volunteers hit its highest level in five years, as 64.3 million Americans volunteered through an organization, the survey says. That's an increase of 1.5 million from 2010. Americans volunteered nearly 8 billion hours, an estimated economic value of roughly $171 billion, the report says.

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