Nationally, 25% of adults volunteer and 36% participate in groups or organizations.1 Kentucky was 36th in the most recent ranking of state volunteer efforts.2 Volunteering can improve a community’s health and build connections between neighbors.
To learn more about volunteering and civic participation in the Commonwealth, the 2018 Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) asked Kentucky adults whether they engaged in a variety of civic activities in the prior year. Seven of these activities were related to political engagement and three were related to community participation.
KHIP is sponsored by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
Eight in 10 Kentucky adults participated in at least one of the listed civic activities in the past year (78%).
About 7 in 10 adults participated in one or more political activities (68%). Six in 10 participated in a discussion about government and politics in person (59%). About 1 in 4 Kentucky adults discussed government and politics on social media (27%), signed a petition (23%) or contacted an elected official or candidate by phone or email (22%).
About half of adults participated in one or more community activities (54%). Nearly half of adults volunteered at their church or at a nonprofit organization (48%). One in 4 worked on a community project (25%).
Overall, Kentucky adults of all ages participated in civic activities.
Responses varied by education level. Adults with more education were more likely than adults with less education to participate in each of the activities. In the past year 89% of college graduates participated in a political activity. That compares with 37% of adults with less than a high school diploma. In the past year 75% of college graduates participated in community activities. That compares with 31% of adults with less than a high school diploma.
KHIP last asked about civic participation in 2010. Questions about government and political conversations in person and on social media were added in 2018. Similar levels of participation were reported for questions that were asked in both years.
1. Corporation for National and Community Service. Volunteering and Civic Life in America Data Website with data from the Current Population
Survey (U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Retrieved Feb 2019 from https://www.nationalservice.gov/vcla/national.
2. Corporation for National and Community Service. Volunteering and Civic Life in America Data Website with data from the Current Population Survey (U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Retrieved Feb 2019 from https://www.nationalservice.gov/vcla/state-rankingsvolunteer-rate.
Interact for Health regularly conducts research and collects data in order to monitor and evaluate our region’s health status and to measure public opinions about health policy.
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