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Jan 25 2022

Bar Foundation Releases 2021 Indiana Civic Health Index

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Among significant recommendations developed through the 2021 Indiana Civic Health Index (INCHI) was establishing the Civic Education Task Force that ultimately led to the passage of H.B. 1384. The legislation created the Indiana Civic Education Commission and requires one semester of middle school civics for all Indiana public school students.

Sponsored by the Indiana Bar Foundation and numerous supporters, the 2021 INCHI also documents that Indiana has additional work to increase voter registration and voter turnout to align with national rates. This is the fifth biennial INCHI and provides 10-years of data to track civic health indicators. Along with civic education, voter registration and voting rates, the INCHI also includes other measures including social and community connectedness and civic awareness and action.

Indiana ranked in the lower third of all states in voter registration and voting during the presidential years of 2012, 2016, and 2020 with an average of 60 percent of Hoosiers voting. Research indicated Indiana‚Äôs voter turnout in those elections ranked 38th in 2012, 41st in 2016; and 46th in 2020. Although there was record turnout in Indiana in 2020, Indiana still lagged compared to most states. In midterm election years, voter turnout rates increased from 39.4% in 2010 to 49.3% in 2018, and Indiana’s rank rose from 48 to 33. In midterm election years, Indiana’s voter registration rates slightly increased from 65.1% in 2010 to 65.3% in 2019, and Indiana’s rank improved from 43 to 37.

The report also includes encouraging news about civic involvement. During the last 10 years, Hoosiers’ social and community connectedness has improved. Volunteering rates increased from 26.1% to 34%, while Indiana’s national rank jumped from 32 to 18. Two indicators, talking with neighbors and doing favors for neighbors, revealed improvements in participation and rank. Hoosier’s rate of membership in groups of any kind fell during the decade but compared to other states, Indiana’s participation improved from 22 to 17. Donations to charitable or religious organizations increased in rank, from 45 to 33, and more Hoosiers donated in 2020 (50.6%) than in 2010 (45.6%).