Tag Archive 'Volunteerism'

Mar 18 2009

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Characteristics of people, places most likely to be civically engaged

Ed Cohen

March 17, 2009

Contrary to what some might think, today’s older people aren’t any more likely to volunteer than younger people.

That was one of the survey findings presented at a session today by Michelle Kobayashi, vice president of the private National Research Center, Inc. Her firm conducts surveys nationwide that ask people how often they engage in certain activities. Her results showed show that, across all adult age groups, about 44 percent of people say they have volunteered recently.

There are certain personal characteristics that favor higher rates of what is broadly defined as of civic engagement. Here’s her list:

  • Longer-term resident
  • Own their home
  • Not Hispanic/Latino
  • Older (65+)
  • Living in housing with other seniors
  • More educated.

But the No. 1 factor, she said, is income. Civic engagement is higher among people with higher incomes. Lower-income people tend to lend more informal kids of assistance, such as helping their neighbors or assisting in child rearing by “grandparenting,” which is especially common among African American families.

She listed these characteristics of communities where civic engagement is highest:

  • Smaller
  • Higher median income
  • Higher proportion of white residents
  • Higher proportion of educated residents
  • Higher proportion of senior households
  • Lower median age
  • Not in the South

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