Civic Engagement Measures

Civic Engagement Measures

Rashida Kamal Purpose & Goals While there are challenges to measuring the resilience of a particular community, academics, NGOs and government agencies have identified several critical indicators of resilience. In their paper, “Measuring Capacities for Community Resilience,” Sherrieb, Kathleen et. al., have proposed four such indicators: social capital, economic development, communication, and community competency. For this project, I was particularly interested in social capital, defined as both formal and informal networks of social support. I looked at volunteer rates across the United States and a few other questions around civic life from the Current Population Survey. Specifically, I was curious to see if these items were affected by different demographic distributions from community to community. Given that several major metropolitan areas in the U.S. have experienced or are currently experiencing gentrification, it would be interesting to see how civic life changes as a community changes. The Dataset & Methodology The Current Population Survey is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the most part, the survey is concerted with data around employment, but in September and November of each year, a Volunteer Supplement and Civic Engagement Supplement is conducted in addition to the main survey. Unfortunately, while data from the Volunteer Supplement is available for 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010, only the 2013, 2011, and 2010 Civic Engagement data is readily available on the Current Population Survey FTP. Each year’s data for each survey is includes over 100,000 individuals. The data was in a .dat fixed-width file, made intelligible by the accompany documentation. Each type of response for each question was assigned a...