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New Report Shines Light on Missouri's 'Civic Health'

Missouri State University and the National Conference on Citizenship held a press conference at MSU today (Tuesday), and released a report on the state of Missouri’s civic health. KSMU’s Ryan Welch explains what that means.

The name of the report is the Missouri Civic Health Index, and it’s the first of its kind. It follows the September release of a national report that measured civic participation across America.

Dr. Michael Stout is an assistant professor of sociology at MSU, and helped write the state report.

“The idea is that, this provides data and information for policy makers, civic leaders, and members of the private sector who are interested in not only economic development, but community development…just to give them some benchmarks for where civil society is right now in the state of Missouri,” said Stout.

The report says Missouri has a stronger blue-collar base for civic participation than most other states. For example, Missouri households with an income of less than $35,000 are twice as likely to do favors for their neighbors who make $75,000 a year or more.

The National Conference on Citizenship has been chartered by Congress to track civic engagement across the United States. Justin Bibb is the director of the Civic Health Initiatives for the National Conference on Citizenship.

“I think we all recognize that we’re at a critical crossroads in this country right now on a big issue related to the economy, and that’s education. 1.2 million kids drop out every year, and in Missouri, 12,000 kids are dropping out of high school every single year,” said Bibb.

The report shows that Missouri’s college graduates are five times more likely to volunteer than those without high school diplomas. They’re also nine times more likely to attend a public meeting.

For more information, including downloading the report, you can visit our website, ksmu.org.

For KSMU News, I’m Ryan Welch.