Report: Arizonans make good neighbors, but not good citizens

Dec 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Polls consistently show that Arizonans take pride in their state, enjoy their quality of life, and like and trust their neighbors. Yet despite such positive outlooks, the percentage of Arizona citizens who vote, volunteer or donate to charities falls below national averages.

In other words, Arizonans make good neighbors, but they don't make good .

A new report released today looks at the implications of this high attachment-low involvement paradox. “Do Good Neighbors Make Good Citizens?” by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy, gathers evidence from recent Arizona studies including the Gallup Arizona Poll, the Arizona Health Survey, and several multiyear surveys conducted by the institute.

The report’s findings pose crucial questions for a state entering its second century facing a massive . That’s because active civic involvement can reap concrete rewards. Evidence from past studies shows that high civic engagement in a community correlates with a high , an improved quality of life, better and lower crime rates, among other benefits.

As a state that prides itself in local control of government and a “citizen legislature,” Arizonans must ask themselves: Why aren’t we more involved? What will happen to Arizona’s democracy if its citizens remain unengaged?

These questions and others are presented in this new report. It also notes some options for generating greater citizen involvement in government to narrow the gap between Arizonans’ pride in their state and the apparent reluctance to get involved.

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