Nebraska is a national leader in spending time with neighbors, family, and friends, in volunteering and working with neighbors to achieve something positive, and in voting in local elections.
Nebraska can improve in spending time with people of different backgrounds, participation in voting, engagement among all geographies and demographics, and discussing politics.
Civic health reflects the degree to which individuals participate and are represented in their communities, from local and state governance to interactions with friends or family, and it refers to the way that communities are organized to define and address public problems.
The data and the insights included in this report are a starting point for conversation and collective action towards strengthening civic life and democratic involvement across the state.
For small towns and metropolitan cities alike, the benefits of strong civic health range from achieving success on community priorities to increased wellness to greater economic prosperity for more residents.
Summary of Data
Why does Civic Health matter?
Our country’s system of governance relies on the civic knowledge and participation of the people to govern effectively. Through cultivating relationships with our neighbors and engaging in discourse and action on shared priorities, we cultivate the habits and mindsets central to sustaining a democratic society.
Health and Wellbeing
Increasing evidence suggests that civic health is at the heart of thriving communities and overall well-being. Time spent with friends, family, and neighbors make a living in a place meaningful, but is also linked to improved mental and physical health. Even seemingly small actions, such as having dinner as a household, giving a ride to a coworker, or organizing a block party, are civic actions that contribute to health and wellness, especially in times of need.
Civically healthy communities position residents, neighborhoods, and towns for economic prosperity. Job seekers often find opportunities through social connections and entrepreneurs rely on their networks for mentorship and investment. Cities and towns that create a sense of belonging for all residents and come together to make smart investments in the community are better positioned to attract and retain a talented workforce. Representative power, inclusive engagement, and connections that bridge different groups within the community help ensure that development provides equitable access to opportunities for all people and all geographies.
Civic health is important to completing community projects that increase quality of life and solve local problems. Whether it be building workforce housing in Stuart or renovating Gene Leahy Mall in downtown Omaha, successful efforts are powered from within by volunteers who rally around a common cause. Democratic involvement in these communities extends beyond managing differing opinions, but rather builds the capacity to work together and sustain action on important issues.
Nebraskans are eager to see upcoming generations form good civic habits and a care for the community around them. People across Nebraska work hard to provide opportunities for youth to be involved in community life because they believe it is an important facet of a person’s character and ultimately living a good life.