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Recession May Be Exacerbating Florida's Civic Weakness, Report Finds


Florida's civic culture is in failing health, and the recession has only made the problem worse, a new study by the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship finds.

Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the survey found that the state ranks forty-sixth in the nation in civic culture, forty-ninth in volunteering, forty-eighth in the percentage of citizens who have attended a public meeting, and thirty-seventh in the percentage of citizens who have worked with others to address a community issue. The survey also looked at the impact of the recession and the state's battered housing market on civic engagement and found that 70 percent of respondents have cut back on their civic activities in the past year.

While Miami-Fort Lauderdale ranked last among the country's fifty largest metropolitan areas in three key civic indicators — volunteering, public meeting attendance, and collaboration with others on local issues — other communities, notably Palm Beach-Melbourne and Tampa-St. Petersburg, were found to have developed stronger civic cultures. Indeed, many who were already engaged in their communities are doing even more, with 46 percent of those who self-identified as highly engaged in the past year reporting that they are increasing their involvement.

Read the full report here.
Broward County Inspiring Philanthropy over 25 years