Go Connect With Your Chicago Neighbor

December 08, 2010

Is it possible that Chicago residents are not neighborly?

According to a recent report, Chicagoans are less likely to help their neighbors compared to residents in other cities.

Man peeking over a fence.Say it isn’t so!

Two reports — the Chicago Civic Health Index and the Illinois Civic Health Index — were released today by the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC).

Co-sponsored by the Chicago-based McCormick Foundation and the Elmhurst-based Citizen Advocacy Center, these reports are used to determine the strength of citizen participation in states and cities.

On the measures of connectedness, Chicago area residents fell below the national average in practically every area.

Here’s what the reports found:

*Illinois ranked No. 46 in the rate of people ages 18 and older who exchanged favors with their neighbors at least a few times a week. Favors include watching each other’s children, house sitting, lending garden or house tools and more. Chicago-area residents ranked higher in this area but were still below the national average.

*Chicago ranked No. 38 among the 51 largest cities in the United States for volunteering.

*Illinois ranked No. 37 in voter turnout in the November 2008 election. That’s a 3 percent decline from the voter turnout for the 2004 Presidential election, which is sad considering the guy running in the 2008 election was a Chicagoan.

*Chicago area and Illinois residents are less likely to attend a public meeting on political issues than the national average.

But here’s where we come out ahead:

*Chicago area and Illinois residents discuss politics more frequently with friends or family and are more apt to get news from newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and Internet news sources compared to their nationwide peers.

So at least we’re informed.

“It is important to emphasize that the civic health of Chicago and Illinois are not beyond repair,” said David Hiller, McCormick Foundation President and CEO. “Civic renewal is within reach, and it is incumbent for citizens, elected officials, schools, and community organizations to do their part in rebuilding local democracy.”

To see the entire report, click here. Then go do something neighborly.

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