Community engagement is the extent to which individuals take responsibility for addressing civic issues and improving the life of their community.
In this section, we highlight trends in 3 indicators: 1) charitable giving; 2) voter registration rates; and 3) voter turnout rates.
In all cases, comparisons to state statistics reflect the state excluding New York City.
Dutchess County continues to have the highest rates of charitable giving in the region compared to neighboring Ulster and Orange counties. Voter registration and voter participation rates dipped slightly and continue to be lower than the state.
Average amounts of charitable giving have decreased yet remain the highest in the region.
Despite decreasing 21% since 2002, Dutchess County continued to have the highest level of average charitable giving in the region. The average contribution in Dutchess in 2013 was about $1,152, above neighboring Orange ($1,121) and Ulster ($769). However, Dutchess’ rates remained below the average giving in the state and nation ($1,313 and $1,267, respectively).
Voter registration rates in Dutchess County have remained slightly below the state rate since 2000.
While 79% of voting-age residents were registered in 2014, this fell below the 82% for the state, a trend consistent since 2000. Following state and regional trends, voter registration in Dutchess increased for the 2008 presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain, with 81% of Dutchess residents registering to vote. In 2014, Dutchess’ voter registration rate (79%) was the lowest in region, ties with Ulster and behind neighboring Orange (80%).
Registered voter turnout rates was on par with the statewide rate in 2014.
Voter turnout in Dutchess consistently fell below rates for the state. In 2014, Dutchess’ participation rate (33%) was on par with Orange and the state and behind Ulster (37%). Similar to state trends, voter participation in Dutchess was higher during presidential elections than in gubernatorial elections. In the 2012 presidential election, 53% of Dutchess’ registered voters voted compared to the 38% in the 2010 gubernatorial year.