Hamilton, OH – The Miami University Hamilton and the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) released the 2013 Ohio Civic Health Index. The report reveals how Ohio residents engage in important civic activities such as voting, volunteering, and interacting with neighbors. This type of engagement is critical because it is linked to the economic and personal health of individuals and communities. Overall, the report finds Ohio’s civic health to be stable, but with key areas of weakness in non-voting political activity.
However, residents fared among the worst when comparing indicators such as contacting a public official (36th), buying or boycotting a specific product or service as an expression of social consciousness (38th), talking with friends or family about politics (39th), and attending local meetings (46th).
“Miami University Hamilton is doing critical work by continuing a conversation to strengthen civic life in Ohio,” said Ilir Zherka, executive director of the National Conference on Citizenship. “While this report reveals clear challenges to Ohio’s civic health, Ohioan’s have a strong civic foundation and the skills to tackle these challenges.”
The report data was obtained primarily from the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey on Voting, Volunteering, and Civic Engagement. Following are additional key findings from the report:
-Ohioans donate to charity at significantly lower rates than the United States as a whole (47.9% to 51.8%). Ohio ranked 43rd in donations to charity when comparing the top 51 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).
-Ohioans have less confidence in corporations, the media, and public schools when compared to the United States as a whole.
-Higher levels of education and income correlate with higher levels of almost every measure of political participation and civic involvement analyzed in the Civic Health Index.
The report also includes suggestions for reshaping the community’s civic environment. Large-scale recommendations include creating greater access to government officials by moving meetings outside of government buildings, supporting greater civics education in schools, and increasing corporate social responsibility efforts.