Center for the Future of Arizona and The Flinn Foundation Release New Civic Health Data Highlighting gaps in civic health ahead of a critical election year
Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to bringing Arizonans together to create a stronger and brighter future for the state, releases new data highlighting Arizona’s need for improved civic engagement in partnership with the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership at The Flinn Foundation.
As it stands, Arizona ranks as the fourth lowest state in the country for the number of residents who discuss politics with friends and family. Yet, according to the organization’s Gallup Arizona Survey, over 70% of Arizonans want civic engagement that solves problems and democracy that works for all. The recently updated Arizona Civic Health Progress Meter, including the Civic Participation Progress Meter and the Connected Communities Progress Meter, also reveals:
- A decline from 2019 to 2021 in community connectedness across the state.
- A significant decline in volunteerism, tracking with national trends.
- A greater likelihood among Arizonans compared to peers across the country to leverage buying power as a sign of approval or disapproval for a product or company.
- An increase in charitable giving between 2019 and 2021.
- A continued low ranking for Arizona residents who spend time with neighbors discussing community issues.
Data included in the Arizona Civic Health Progress Meter, part of CFA’s Arizona Progress Meters established to track momentum toward The Arizona We Want, assess civic participation, connectedness of communities and more, to benchmark and inform engagement strategies, as communities that are more connected have been shown to be more economically resilient, policies are more responsive when community voices are heard, and participation in civic life correlates to a greater overall wellbeing for residents, according to the National Conference on Citizenship.
“We know that change and progress rely, in part, on civic engagement, and in Arizona, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to activate voters to achieve The Arizona We Want,” Dr. Sybil Francis, CFA’s Chair, President & CEO said. “The data from our updated Arizona Civic Health Progress Meter helps inform our work moving forward and we couldn’t have a more valuable partner in this effort than The Flinn Foundation.”
It is with that in mind that CFA and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership plan to build on their partnership, established in 2021, to shore up civic involvement and engagement across the state. According to recent data for the 2022 election, the number of Arizonans who were eligible but did not vote because they were not interested or felt their vote wouldn’t matter jumped to 24 percent, a significant increase from 16 percent as of the last midterm election in 2018. Increased civic engagement and participation in elections could help increase responsiveness by elected officials, in turn prompting a more positive feeling among Arizonans about their elected leaders. With a consequential election year upcoming, the partnership’s data-driven strategies in its efforts to improve the civic participation landscape are needed now more than ever.
“Strengthening civic engagement is a major challenge that requires a broad collective initiative—one that we’re proud to support,” said Dr. Tammy McLeod, Flinn Foundation President and CEO. “The Arizona We Want provides the common agenda for our shared enterprise, and the Arizona Civic Health Progress Meter offers the common data to guide our actions. We’re eager to work with CFA to bring new collaborators into this effort.”
In the year ahead, the Arizona Civic Life Partnership will focus on four key areas:
- Generating dialogue and fostering a shared understanding about how thriving civic health can positively impact the future of the state.
- Expanding the community of statewide partners working toward shared goals.
- Using data to drive action that improves civic engagement.
- Becoming a hub for state and national partners to convene, collaborate, and multiply impact.
Learn more about the Arizona Civic Life Partnership.
About Center for the Future of Arizona
Center for the Future of Arizona is a nonprofit, nonpartisan "do-tank" that brings Arizonans together to create a stronger and brighter future for our state. Through survey research & reports, Arizona Progress Meters, and impact initiatives & programs, CFA listens to Arizonans to learn what matters most to them, shares trusted data about how Arizona is doing in those priority areas, brings critical issues to public attention, and works with communities and leaders to solve public problems. CFA leads impact initiatives and programs across the state and has deep and ongoing engagement in education, workforce development, and civic health, recognizing how essential these are to advancing economic prosperity, quality of life, and opportunity for all. Learn more at arizonafuture.org.
About the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership
The nonpartisan Arizona Center for Civic Leadership at the Flinn Foundation enhances civic life in Arizona through civic education, engagement, and leadership-development programs. Flinn Young Leaders emphasizes civic learning and skill-building and helps teens imagine paths to making a difference. CivEx delivers educational programming for the public to become better-informed on Arizona policy and political topics. The Civic Leadership Collaborative and the Arizona Civic Life Partnership convene organizations that strengthen civic participation and connected communities. The Center’s cornerstone, the prestigious Flinn-Brown Fellowship, is an immersive experience for community leaders from diverse backgrounds. Fellows engage in rich discussions with policymakers and political experts; join a robust professional network; and gain understanding of how to address Arizona’s most pressing issues through public service.