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.
The rate of charitable giving in Ulster County has declined, similar to state and national rates. The county is below the region in voter registration rates but has the highest voter participation rates in the region.
Average amounts of charitable giving in Ulster County were the lowest in the region.
Ulster County’s average charitable giving has declined by 24% since 2002, continuing to be the lowest in the region. The average contribution in Ulster in 2013 was $769, below neighboring Dutchess ($1,152) and Orange ($1,121). Ulster’s rates have also remained well below the average giving in the state and nation, with $1,313 and $1,267, respectively.
Ulster County consistently has the highest voter registration rate in the region.
Voter registration rates in Ulster have consistently surpassed rates for the region and even the state for several years, making it the only county in the region to do so. However, in 2014, 79% of voting-age residents were registered in Ulster, below the 80% for the region and 82% for the state. Following state and regional trends, voter registration in Ulster increases for presidential elections. For the last two presidential elections, 88% of Ulster’s residents registered to vote, slightly below the decade high registration of 92% during the 2004 election between George W. Bush and John Kerry.
Registered voter turnout rates were the highest in the region and above state rates in 2014.
Voter turnout in Ulster was consistently well above rates for the region, state and nation. Ulster’s participation rate was 37% in 2014, compared to the region, Dutchess County, and Orange (all 33%). Similar to state trends, voter participation in Ulster was higher during presidential elections than in gubernatorial elections. In the 2004, 2008, and 2012 presidential elections, about 62% and 54% of Ulster’s registered voters voted compared to 42% in the 2010 gubernatorial year.