A report submitted Thursday to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education shows that, while Oklahoma outperforms national trends for family and community building, some forms of civic involvement, such as voter turnout, may be lacking.
The Oklahoma Civic Health Index (OK CHI) measures the civic habits of the state’s citizens across a wide range of indicators in an effort to strengthen citizen participation in our communities, state and nation.
“It is important that each of us accept the responsibility to be engaged in all aspects of our community. This report is a useful guide for our colleges and universities as they pursue their public purpose of improving community life and educating students in the area of civic and social responsibility,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “This report shows where our state excels and also where we can continue to improve.”
The OK CHI is based primarily on research conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2011. Five key indicators are examined in national context.
- Oklahomans rank eighth in the nation for eating dinner with family but 30th in discussing politics around the dinner table or elsewhere.
- Oklahomans have a strong culture of volunteerism. From 2008-10, residents of the state ranked 20th in the volunteer rate in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with 814,700 volunteers or 29.2 percent of the state’s residents.
- Oklahoma ranks 44th among all states in the rate of citizens who are registered to vote and 47th in voter turnout, with a turnout rate of 40.4 percent for citizens aged 18 and over. Turnout for local elections is even lower, at less than 8 percent.
- Oklahoma maintains a moderate degree of confidence in public institutions. Nationwide, there is a relatively low level of confidence in public schools, the media, corporations and the government. However, Oklahoma maintains a good degree of confidence in public schools. Also, Oklahoma ranks fifth nationally – at 68.6 percent – in the number of people who are very or somewhat confident in corporations.
- Oklahoma civic skills are on track to improve with the new C3 plan, “college, career and citizen ready,” offering a seamless citizen education framework from pre-K through 12th grade.
The OK CHI is a partnership among Oklahoma Campus Compact (OkCC), the University of Central Oklahoma and the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC). Currently, NCoC partners with 16 states and four large cities to produce individual Civic Health Index reports.
Campus Compact is a coalition of colleges and universities that develops college students’ awareness and skills in civic responsibility through service learning, community service and civic engagement. Thirty-five states have Campus Compact offices. OkCC was formed in 2000 and currently has 36 participating public and private colleges and universities.Founded in 1946 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1953, the NCoC is a leader in strengthening our nation's civic health. In partnership with more than 250 organizations, NCoC tracks, measures and promotes civic participation. Through this work, NCoC helps define modern citizenship in America. More information can be found at NCoC.net.