The Corporation for National Service (CNCS) several years ago started making volunteering data available online through Volunteering in America , with a research brief, rankings and profiles for all states and big cities, and even downloadable summary data.
The Corporation has now released comparable social capital data. See: Civic Life in America website.
They have an Issue Brief describing their overall results across 5 dimensions (service which includes volunteering, group participation, connecting to civic information, social connectedness, and political action).
One can see the ranking of states or large cities across these dimensions (volunteering, voting, working with neighbors or group participation).
These data, in addition to being a great boon to scholars, are highly useful for local leaders. For example, Governor Schwarzenegger used the California volunteer data to develop new public polices around volunteering, state legislative support for those efforts, and ultimately created the first cabinet-level position on service and volunteering in the state. Driven by public discussions about the low level of volunteering in New York City, highlighted through CNCS research releases, Mayor Bloomberg launched a new civic initiative for the city including launching a Civic Corps, further buttressed with borough-level data from CNCS. Many press outlets help spread the word about how cities and states are doing against one another and encourage friendly competition for citizens to become more actively engaged.
Well done and keep up the good work. With thanks to CNCS for their leadership on this issue.
See earlier post on advances in social capital measurement.
See later post on “US expands social capital measures“