Civic Health & Economy

NCoC research has demonstrated the relationship between civic engagement and economic resilience. It found that the density and type of nonprofit organizations in a community, as well as a community’s social cohesion, are important predictors of its ability to withstand unemployment in a recession.

• The ten states that scored the best on both nonprofit density and social cohesion had unemployment rates of 6.5% in 2010, compared with 10.8% unemployment in the lowest-scoring states.

• States with high social cohesion had unemployment rates 2% lower than their less connected and trusting counterparts, even when controlling for demographics and other economic factors.

Research from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), entitled “Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment,” provides compelling empirical evidence establishing an association between volunteering and employment.

• Volunteers have a 27% higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers

• Volunteers without a high school diploma have a 51% higher likelihood of finding employment

• Volunteers living in rural areas have a 55% higher likelihood of finding employment

Findings in Action

Finding: In Arizona, most measures of civic health have been shown to lag the nation. Further, the data underscores the significant variations in civic participation rates among Arizona’s citizenry based upon education, age, ethnicity, and income.

Action: The Center for the Future of Arizona has used civic health data to help inform a statewide citizens’ agenda, foster dialogue, mobilize communities, and raise civic health as a top priority for the state among other important issues like job creation.

“We have used the civic data for three years now to set major goals for improving civic engagement and community involvement throughout Arizona. Other Arizona organizations are also using the data to set their own strategic goals. For example, the O’Connor House, an organization established and led by Justice O’Connor, is using CHI [Civic Health Index] indicators as their baseline and has set an ambitious goal adopted by more than 100 organizations – make Arizona a top 10 state on every indicator measured by CHI. Their efforts, and ours, are dependent on having consistent, reliable data.” –Lattie Coor, Center for the Future of Arizona

For more examples of Civic Health & Economy, click here.

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