two men laughing and walking arm-in-arm through a city

Kindhearted Cities Index 2022

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Why is kindness important now?


There is a growing body of research that explores whether kindness is an innate quality within each of us. Is it something we’re born with? Is it something we’re taught? Is it a quality within our communities that perhaps we require, to some extent, to live healthy and fulfilling lives? 

The answer to all of the above, as you might have guessed, is yes. Kindness—defined as being considerate, helpful, humane, charitable, or of service to others—is intrinsic to humanity. A baseline level of kindness within the communities in which we all live is a human characteristic that must be actively cultivated if we’re to ensure a good life for ourselves and a better one for future generations. 

As we navigate a worldwide pandemic, ever-turbulent news cycles, increasingly divided political ideologies, and financial and environmental uncertainties, kindness in our communities has never been so essential. 

This is why, for the first time ever, we at VolunteerMatch have combed through troves of publicly available data, as well as our own internal figures on volunteer engagement across every zip code in the US, and ranked the top 50 most Kindhearted Cities in America in our 2022 Kindhearted Cities Index.


Top 10 Kindhearted Cities

Celebrate your city

Civil service is at the very heart of our democratic society, for it signifies the valuing of all lives and the collective effort to make circumstances better and more equal for all. If you see your city, click on the card to discover how you can celebrate and serve your community.


All City Rankings

Kindness from Coast to Coast

Find your passion, people, and purpose by exploring volunteer opportunities in your community. 

map of the united states with kindhearted cities


Rank City Find Volunteering Opportunities
1 Portland, OR Take action in Portland
2 Seattle, WA Take action in Seattle
3 San Jose, CA Take action in San Jose
4 Boston, MA Take action in Boston
5 San Francisco, CA Take action in San Francisco
6 Denver, CO Take action in Denver
7 Austin, TX Take action in Austin
8 Virginia Beach, VA Take action in Virginia Beach
9 Chicago, IL Take action in Chicago
10 Madison, WI Take action in Madison
11 Minneapolis, MN Take action in Minneapolis
12 Columbus, OH Take action in Columbus
13 Washington, DC Take action in Washington
14 Pittsburgh, PA Take action in Pittsburgh
15 San Diego, CA Take action in San Diego
16 Milwaukee, WI Take action in Milwaukee
17 Raleigh, NC Take action in Raleigh
18 Los Angeles, CA Take action in Los Angeles
19 New York, NY Take action in New York
20 Sacramento, CA Take action in Sacramento
21 Aurora, CO Take action in Aurora
22 Durham, NC Take action in Durham
23 Dallas, TX Take action in Dallas
24 Norfolk, VA Take action in Norfolk
25 Cincinnati, OH Take action in Cincinnati
26 Charlotte, NC Take action in Charlotte
27 Chesapeake, VA Take action in Chesapeake
28 Plano, TX Take action in Plano
29 Philadelphia, PA Take action in Philadelphia
30 Tampa, FL Take action in Tampa
31 Colorado Springs, CO Take action in Colorado Springs
32 Honolulu, HI Take action in Honolulu
33 Nashville, TN Take action in Nashville
34 Baltimore, MD Take action in Baltimore
35 Atlanta, GA Take action in Atlanta
36 Greensboro, NC Take action in Greensboro
37 New Orleans, LA Take action in New Orleans
38 Orlando, FL Take action in Orlando
39 Long Beach, CA Take action in Long Beach
40 San Antonio, TX Take action in San Antonio
41 Buffalo, NY Take action in Buffalo
42 Indianapolis, IN Take action in Indianapolis
43 Houston, TX Take action in Houston
44 Richmond, VA Take action in Richmond
45 Vancouver, WA Take action in Vancouver
46 Phoenix, AZ Take action in Phoenix
47 Louisville, KY Take action in Louisville
48 Jacksonville, FL Take action in Jacksonville
49 Las Vegas, NV Take action in Las Vegas
50 Providence, RI Take action in Providence




Take Action

How can you get involved?


Whether you're a volunteer, work in a nonprofit or corporate environment, you can contribute to your city's culture of kindness.


Volunteers - Discover opportunities to help your community 

Choose from hundreds of thousands of volunteer opportunities on the world’s largest volunteer engagement network.


Nonprofits - Recruit volunteers to your cause

Recruit more volunteers for your cause by having access to our network of millions of volunteers.


Workplaces - Empower your employees to give back

Curate service experiences to drive your company-wide volunteer service program or cause-based campaign.


Notable Findings

Fun facts


  • 25 States + Washington, DC made the list
  • California tops the list with six cities; Two in the top five
  • Texas has five cities on the list
  • Four cities are featured from North Carolina and Virginia
  • Three cities are featured from Colorado and Florida
  • NYC is the largest city on the list.  Providence Rhode Island is the smallest.


How do you measure kindness?


To determine the kindheartedness of a given city, we considered a wide range of social variables, each of which provides a unique indication of the attitudes, actions, priorities, beliefs, values, or philosophies of a city's populace.

We began by taking the largest 2,500 US cities by population. We looked at each city through the lens of four main social characteristics that, when considered together, convey a comprehensive level of kindness on display by the individuals and communities within that city.

The four social characteristics we looked at are Generosity, Fairness and Equality, Environmental Efforts, and Economic Indicators, each of which comprises 3-5 sources of supporting data.

The data used as inputs into this index were derived from publicly available sources, including government agencies, intergovernmental organizations, and both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and include raw datasets as well as social indices.

Additionally, we augmented this data with volunteer engagement data from our database at VolunteerMatch, which facilitates roughly 1,000,000 connections every year between nonprofits in need of volunteers and individuals looking for meaningful ways to support their communities.

colorful table listing the social characteristics and data sources used to determine the level of kindness in a city

3BL Media, American Lung Association, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Apartment List, Barna Group, Enterprise Community Partners, Glassdoor, Human Rights Campaign, Lawnstarter, New American Economy, Niche, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, WalletHub, VolunteerMatch.



Announce your awesomeness to the world


Click on the headlines below to be directed to downloadable resources.


City Badges

  • Locate your city’s badge and display it on your website, social media, email signature, or anywhere else you see fit! 


Images Graphics Maps

  • Two map graphics displaying the Index cities, one with the city names and one without. 


Press Releases

  • The Index’s first press release. 


Social Media

  • Images you can share on FaceBook, Instagram, and LinkedIn as well as drafted copy. Feel free to create your own! 


The KCI Full List 

  • A table with all the winners and their rankings.


The Google Drive

  • An easy shareable location for all of the above.


Index Blog post

  • Read more from Ben Chutz, the data-cruncher behind the index.