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Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has released the 2011 Kentucky Civic Health Index, a report that measures Kentucky’s overall civic health.
The report was prepared based on U.S. Census Current Population Survey data by the Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility at Western Kentucky University, in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship (NcoC), and with support from the Secretary of State’s office, the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, and Kentucky Advocates for Civic Education.
The report examines various aspects of public participation, including voter turnout, political involvement, volunteerism, group membership, and community and family relationships, comparing performance among demographic groups and to other states. It is the first report of its kind in Kentucky. Overall, the report shows civic engagement in Kentucky is generally waning. Specific noteworthy findings include:
⁃ Kentucky’s voter registration and voter turnout are above the national average, at 66.9 percent and 46.8 percent, respectively.
⁃ Kentuckians rank 3rd in the nation in terms of frequently eating dinner with family.
⁃ Kentuckians’ rates of volunteerism and charitable contributions have declined and are below the national average.
⁃ Kentucky ranks last among states for group membership, with only 25.9% of citizens reporting belonging to a group.
“The Kentucky Civic Health Index provides an excellent platform to not only understand the ways that Kentuckians are engaged, but to develop sustainable civic strategies that will ensure all residents are actively involved in shaping the communities in which they want to live,” said NCoC board member Phil Duncan of the report’s findings.
“The report gives us a starting point and a yardstick against which we can measure our progress,” said Grimes. “This information gives us a great opportunity to shape where we, as a state, are going.”
Former Secretaries of State Trey Grayson, Bob Babbage, John Y. Brown and Elaine Walker have all expressed support for the report.
“The trend of declining civic engagement stops now. Starting today, we will work towards a more enthusiastic and informed electorate in Kentucky,” Grimes said.
The report shows, she said, that “we must think outside the box, engaging in new partnerships and implementing fresh strategies, to connect all Kentuckians and bridge the gaps left by previous efforts.”
Secretary Grimes announced that her office will continue working with past partners but will reach out to groups and communities that may not have participated in formulating past initiatives.
“This is our Commonwealth and our future, and it is up to us to ensure that future is bright,” Grimes said.
A copy of the report is available on the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.ky.gov/2011CHI.
From The Kentucky Secretary of State