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First-Ever Maryland Civic Health Index Released

mdchi_2010_coverThe Mannakee Circle Group is pleased to announce the release of the first-ever Maryland Civic Health Index. This report was developed as a partnership between The Mannakee Circle Group, the Maryland Commission on Civic LiteracyCommon Cause Maryland,  and the National Conference on Citizenship. It was funded in part by the Center for Civic Education.

Mannakee President Brad Rourke was lead author of the report.

The report is available from NCoC here.

The Civic Health Index is developed using data from the U.S. Census, and is mandated by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009. The National Conference on Citizenship developed a national report, and partnered with a variety of local organizations in developing a number of state and local reports. CIRCLE did the core data analysis and we are deeply indebted to them.

In addition to the census data, the Maryland partners convened a number of community conversations throughout the state and culminated this listening effort with a Civic Literacy Summit held on October 23 where workgroups made recommendations for moving forward.

From the press release:

The first-ever look at Maryland’s civic health – how state residents work together for the common good -- shows a Free State that fared above average in each of nine major indicators evaluated, but that fared lower than researchers anticipated due to the state’s higher-than-average median income, strong education systems and location.

The Maryland Civic Health Index looked at volunteerism, social connections, voting habits and political engagement, among other indicators. Perhaps not surprisingly given its proximity to the nation’s capital, the civic health indicator Maryland scored highest on was talking politics. Nearly 46 percent reported talking about politics with family and friends, higher than the national average of about 39 percent, and 5th highest among all states. The state’s weakest indicator of civic health was the frequency with which Marylanders dine at night with family. About 87 percent of Marylanders said they eat dinner at least a few times a week with family or other household members, lower than the national average of 89 percent, and 47th overall.

Other results show:

Nearly 30 percent of Marylanders are involved in volunteerism, a participation rate of about 3 percent higher than the national average of 26.8 percent and 23rd overall.

About 9 percent work with neighbors, slightly higher than the national average and 26th overall.

More than 68 percent of Marylanders voted in the 2008 presidential election, compared to the national average of nearly 64 percent, 11th overall among states. The voting registration rate in Maryland was even higher for that same election, with about 74 percent of residents registered to vote, compared to 71 percent of the national average and 18th overall.

About 16.6 percent exchanged favors with a neighbor, slightly higher than the national average and 27th among all states.

Some 28 percent engaged in one or more non-electoral political acts, higher than the national average of 26.3 percent and 24th overall.

About 40 percent of Marylanders belong to a group, compared to the national average of 35 percent and 15th overall.

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