National Conference on Citizenship 2009 Civic Health Index finds civic engagement under stress in the recession
The National Conference on Citizenship has released its annual Civic Health Index report for 2009, entitled Civic Health in Hard Times (pdf). As in past years, CIRCLE contributed to the design and analysis of the national survey that was the basis of the study and helped with the writing of the report. In addition to the 40 measures of civic participation that compose the Civic Health Index, the survey included timely questions about such topics as the perceived impact of the recession on civic life.
The NCoC summarizes the main findings as follows: “As economic distress continues through the summer and into the fall, Americans are suffering from a ‘civic foreclosure’ that is limiting the range and depth of their civic engagement. The survey’s results reflect the hard choices Americans have made during the downturn, with 72 percent of respondents saying they have cut back on time engaged in civic participation, which includes time spent volunteering, participating in groups or performing other civic activities in their communities. Public perception supports this finding, as 66 percent of Americans say they feel other people are responding to the current economic downturn by looking out for themselves, with only 19 percent saying people around them are responding to the recession by helping each other more.”
Suggested citation: National Conference on Citizenship, Civic Enterprises, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement & Saguaro Seminar (2009), America’s Civic Health Index: Civic Health in Hard Times. Washington, D.C.: National Conference on Citizenship.