Community Partnership Releases Bibb County Civic Health Report

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Community Partnership-Bibb County Family Connection has compiled a county level civic health report in connection with A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research at Kennesaw State University, which shows Bibb County ahead of state averages for measures of civic health. Modeled after the state level Georgia Civic Health Index (CHI) which just released its 2019 report, the Bibb County Civic Health Report measures the ways that people interact with their friends and families, with their larger communities, with political processes, and with institutions.

The Civic Health survey contains questions to measure four domains including: social connectedness, community involvement, political action and confidence in institutions. Overall, stronger measures of civic health are correlated with better public health outcomes, lower crime rates, and stronger economic resiliency and work force development.

“Essentially, communities where more people are engaged and participating with each other and in civic life do better than communities where fewer people participate,” said Jill Vanderhoek, Executive Director of Community Partnership-Bibb County Family Connection. “It is vital that we engage citizens throughout all parts of the county, varying educational and economic levels, and diverse demographics to advocate for their neighborhoods and community assets.”

Although Georgia lags in strong civic health on a national level, the 2019 state report shows that Georgia declined in 21 civic engagement measures since 2013, based on the Georgia Civic Health Index. However, according to the Bibb County report, the county measures above the state average on several indictors and shows opportunity for improvement. According to survey responses, Bibb County measured higher than the state average for

Frequently discussing political, societal or local issues with family or friends (Bibb 44 percent vs State 37.4 percent)

Volunteered in the last 12 months (Bibb 37.2 percent vs State 26.5 percent)

Voting and registration rates in Georgia by County (Bibb 83.7 percent voted/ 91.7 percent registered vs. State 60.2 percent voted/ 69.4 percent registered)

Attended a public meeting in which there was a discussion of community affairs in the last 12 months (Bibb 26.3 percent vs State 10.1 percent)

“These numbers are promising for our local community because they show we are making efforts to be more civically engaged as a community,” said Vanderhoek. “This report will serve to inform stakeholders in Bibb County and assist with engagement efforts with populations and places that are disengaged, as well as to build on community strengths.”

More on the Civic Health survey domains:

Social Connectedness- interaction with friends, family and neighbors;

Community Involvement- the ways in which people interact with residents and groups in their community;

Political Action- voter registration and turnout, contacting elected officials, and expressing political opinions; and

Confidence in Institutions- the degree to which residents believe the various institutions, including public schools, media and corporations will do what is right.