Welcome to the second edition of the Georgia Civic Health Index.
The Georgia Civic Health Index (CHI) seeks to answer the question:
“How do Georgians participate in civic life and what does it mean for Georgia?”
What is Civic Health?
Civic health is the way communities are organized to define and address public problems. Civic health includes a wide range of civic engagement indicators, from social interactions among friends and family to the ways people participate in groups and communities. Civic health also reflects the ways people express themselves politically—in traditional measures like voter registration and turnout—as well as in social measures like discussing politics and sharing information.
Is Georgia Civically Healthy?
Georgia’s civic health is still not strong, according to the second edition of the Georgia Civic Health Index (CHI), released by Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP), the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), and the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC).
Civic health in the Peach state has declined in most of the 21 civic engagement measures that examine the way Georgians interact with each other, their communities, and in political life since the first report was published in 2013.
While Georgians who are older, more educated, or have higher incomes exhibit better rates of civic engagement, Georgia on the whole exhibits some of the lowest rates of civic engagement in the nation. Georgia is about average for many social connectedness indicators, but is below average for most indicators of community involvement, political action, and confidence in institutions.
Why This Matters
Research has linked civic health to:
- economic resilience;
- workforce development;
- child development, adolescent well-being, mental health, and other public health outcomes;
- access to opportunity;
- community vitality;
- lower violent crime rates and youth delinquency; and
- reduced mortality.
2019 Georgia Civic Health Index
The 2019 Georgia CHI examines three main areas:
- Social Connectedness
- Community Involvement
- Political Action
The goals of the 2019 report are to support and broaden existing conversations, create and promote new conversations, and examine strategies and evidence-based practices to improve civic health at the state and local levels. The 2019 report:
- examines the way Georgians interact with each other, their communities, and political life;
- compares the ways that Georgia’s civic health has changed since the 2013 CHI was published;
- explores the way civic participation changes across demographic variables—income, educational attainment, age, race/ethnicity, and geography; and
- compares Georgia’s rates of civic participation to other states and to national averages.
Promising Opportunities for Georgia
Some indicators from the 2019 report suggest promising opportunities for our state:
- The frequency that Georgians provide food, housing, money, or help to friends or extended family matches the national average, ranking 29th, with Georgia millennials engaging in this way at rates higher than both the state and national averages.
- Georgia ranks 29th for frequently talking to or spending time with people of different racial, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds.
- Georgians post views about political, societal, or local issues on the internet or social media at a rate above the national average, ranking 13th.
Statewide organizations that serve every community in Georgia already are committed to helping reverse the declining trend in civic health. GaFCP and critical partners like GMA are ready to embed strategies to improve civic participation—informed by six years of data—in all 159 counties across the state.
Download the 2019 Georgia Civic Health Index.
Download the executive summary.
Read the media release: “Partners Aligned to Improve Georgia’s Struggling Health.”
WABE’s Rose Scott interviews Georgia KIDS COUNT manager Rebecca Rice on “Closer Look.”