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New Report Examines How Civic Health Can Be Measured and Used to Inform Policy
 
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July 2014

A new report published late last month by the National Academies identifies measurement approaches that can lead to improved understanding of civic engagement, social cohesion, and social capital—and their potential role in explaining the functioning of society.

Civic Engagement and Social Cohesion to Inform Policy examines conceptual frameworks developed in the literature to determine promising measures and measurement methods for informing public policy discourse. The report identifies working definitions of key terms; advises on the feasibility of, and specifications for indicators relevant to, analyses of social, economic, and health domains; and assesses the strength of the evidence regarding the relationship between these indicators and observed trends in crime, employment, and resilience to shocks such as natural disasters.

The report weighs the relative merits of surveys, administrative records, and nongovernment data sources and considers the appropriate role of the federal statistical system. It makes recommendations to improve the measurement of civic health through population surveys conducted by the government and identifies priority areas for research, development, and implementation.

The report stems from the work of the Committee on National Statistics’ Panel on Measuring Social and Civic Engagement and Social Cohesion in Surveys, which in 2011 set out to examine measures and measurement methods that could better inform public policy.

For more information or to download the report, visit the National Academies website

 
 
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