The Citizen - Page 33

P a g e | 33 Government & Civic Participation Many Sangamon County residents indicate they volunteer or engage in other forms of civic participation in the community. Four measures of civic engagement in Sangamon County are represented in the graph below. The 2015 survey finds an increase in the percent of individuals who express opinions online and a decrease in the percent who have donated money to charitable or religious organizations. Monetary donations to charitable organizations have been down since the economic downturn in 2008 but recent reports by the Giving USA Foundation indicate charitable giving is beginning to recover with donation rates now consistent with pre-recession levels.1 It is unclear why the most recent Sangamon County Citizen Survey finds a decrease in charitable giving among residents. Forty-nine percent of Sangamon county residents indicate they have volunteered through or for a charitable or religious organization within the last 12 months (compared to 45 percent in 2013). The percent of respondents who report having volunteered in Sangamon County in the last 12 months is significantly higher than reported state (26 percent)2 volunteer rates, but on par with national (49 percent)3 volunteer rates. Younger Sangamon County residents (18-24 year olds) are more likely to express their opinion online (44%) and more likely to volunteer for a charitable organization (52%). It is important to note that in self-report measures like surveys, people tend to overreport their civic participation. However, we would not expect changes in self-reporting to be dependent on the year. Four Ways Sangamon County Citizens Get Involved 26% Expressed your opinion about an issue online 35% 45% Volunteered through or for a charitable or religious organization 49% 84% Donated money to a charitable or religious organization 72% 84% Discussed politics with family or friends 84% 0% 2013 SCCS 1 20% 40% 60% 80% 2015 SCCS Data is available at http://givingusa.org/ Data is available at http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/export.cfm 3 As reported by the NORC’s General Social Survey (GSS) in 2014. Data available at https://gssdataexplorer.norc.org/ 2 100%