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.
Compared to statewide and national averages, charitable giving rates have been lower in the Mid-Hudson Valley. The region’s voter registration rates have been steady but below the statewide rates. Registered voter turnout in the region was above statewide turnout in 2014.
Average amounts of charitable giving are slightly below the state’s and the nation’s.
In 2013, average charitable contributions in the Mid-Hudson Valley region ranged from approximately $800 in Ulster to $1,150 in Dutchess, below the statewide and national average of $1,300.
Individuals’ average charitable giving was down 21% from approximately $1,300 in 2002, to just over $1,000 in 2013. This trend is consistent with decreases at the state and national levels of 16% and 11% respectively over the same time period.
The region’s voter registration rates have remained steady, yet they are persistently lower than that of the state.
Between 2000 and 2014, the average voter registration rate was 80% for the Mid-Hudson region and 84% for the state. Of the region’s voting-age residents, 80% were registered in 2014, compared to 82% of the state overall.
Voter registration rates vary somewhat across the region.Ulster County’s registration rate has been equal to or greater than the statewide rate in eleven of the past fifteen years. From 2000 to 2013, Ulster County had the highest registration rates of the three counties, however this rate fell to 79% in 2014.
Similar to state trends, voter registration in the region increased 5 percentage points to 84% in 2008, leading up to the presidential election, but has declined since then. In years where there were local races only, regional voter registration rates consistently dipped 2 to 4 percentage points.
Registered voter turnout rates rose above the statewide rate in 2014.
Although voter turnout in Ulster was higher than statewide turnout, Dutchess and Orange have remained below state levels since 2000. In the 2014 midterm election the voter turnout in the region was 1 point higher than the state.