TOPEKA — Maybe it’s all the social and moral issues. Maybe it’s just part of living in Kansas.
Whatever the case, Kansans are more engaged in their communities and politics than folks in most states across the nation, according to a new report released today by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that manages AmeriCorps and other volunteer initiatives, and the National Conference on Citizenship, a nonprofit that tracks civic engagement.
Perhaps most striking is Kansas’ 7th place ranking for volunteer work. Nearly 36 percent of Kansas residents have volunteered in recent years, according to a nationwide survey of about 14,000 people conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau last November. Utah, Iowa and Minnesota led the pack. Florida, Nevada and New York finished in the last three spots.
The survey and other data ranks Kansas 14th in the nation in working with neighbors (Utah, Alaska and Vermont led), 16th in the nation for working in civic groups (Alaska, Minnesota and Utah led) and 22nd in voting (Maine, North Dakota and Vermont led).
A media release accompanying the data says the new research suggests that “civic engagement is a reinforcing cycle.”
“Citizens who participate in one area of civic engagement, like volunteering, are more likely to get involved in groups, contact public officials, or work with neighbors,” the release said.