Developing muscle strength can be a tedious process. Generally it starts by realizing a weakness. At the beginning of training, a muscle can feel awkward or sore, but before long, the muscle is strong, the body is more capable and efficient, and it’s difficult to remember life before the newfound strength.
Just like physical strength, civic life in Nebraska shows clear strengths, as well as areas that could use a metaphorical workout. Last month we introduced the topic of civic health, measured by indicators ranging from connecting with family and friends to having confidence in institutions to actions like volunteering and voting. Just as it is important for individuals to check up on their personal health, as a community it is important to check up on our civic health. That checkup comes in the form of the 2015 Nebraska Civic Health Index, which uses data from the US Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey to document Nebraskans’ tendency to participate in community and civic life.
Last month we looked at the strengths of Nebraska communities. In general, the data show Nebraska enjoys particularly strong social connectedness and high confidence in public institutions. This month we look at areas of civic health where Nebraska falls to the middle of the road and even the back of the pack when compared to other states and the District of Columbia.