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Civic Health Initiative

The Kentucky Civic Health Index
To address civic health is Kentucky's Civic Health Index, which measures the state of engagement and civic literacy in the Commonwealth.

The Secretary of State's office released the first-ever Civic Health Index  in 2012.

The Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility at Western Kentucky University, in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and with support from the Secretary of State’s office and the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville prepares the report based on U.S. Census Current Population Survey data.

The report examines various aspects of public participation, including voter turnout, political involvement, volunteerism, group membership, and community and family relationships, comparing performance among demographic groups and to other states.

the 2016 Civic Health Index this year. It shows the Commonwealth improved in national rankings in social connectedness, community engagement and voter registration since the Secretary released the first report. More Kentuckians are volunteering, making charitable contributions, and registering to vote. However, troubling findings revealed that fewer than half of Kentuckians have confidence in media, a decline of more than 10 percent in three years, and fewer Kentuckians are trusting of their neighbors.  Overall, Kentucky ranks 48th in the nation, ahead of only New Mexico (49th), Montana (50th) and Utah (51st), for public confidence in media.

The Secretary issued a call to Kentucky's elected officials, beginning with constitutional officers and members of the General Assembly, to end that corrosive distrust by signing a pledge to refuse to traffic in fake and fact-less information in an effort to begin restoring their constituents' trust in our public institutions and each other.

The 2013 Civic Health Assessment: Shaping Kentucky's Future Together
In 2012 and 2013, the Secretary held a statewide series of roundtable discussions at Kentucky's universities and colleges to address ways to improve Kentucky's civic health. The 15 public forums took place across the Commonwealth, reaching every region of the state. In addition to panels comprised of elected officials and leaders in education, business, and the community, active audiences filled with students and local residents shared their experiences and insights.
Following the roundtables, The Secretary compiled a summary of the discussions she had with fellow Kentuckians, focusing on the key concepts of (1) civic engagement, (2) political action, and (3) social connectedness. No matter the topic, the common theme of "intentional acts" emerged in each discussion.