Civic Participation

Civic Participation

National Elections

  • While still much lower than the recent peak turnout in the Presidential election of 1992 (when Ross Perot was on the ballot with Clinton and Bush), the 2008 General Election continued a gradual increase over the past decade in turnout.
  • Turnout in the 2010 mid-term elections continued the rising trend.

National Elections

Source of Information

  • Central Texans are moving away from traditional sources of information on community issues, such as the Austin American-Statesman, and increasingly to the Internet, local TV news, and alternative print sources.
Source of Information

Survey Question: Where do you get your information about issues that concern you about the future of your community?

Local Action

  • In 2010, as in previous years, more than 85% of the regional population got involved in at least one activity at the local level in the past year as a result of their concern for the future of their community. While 13% did nothing, almost 60% participated in at least three activities.
  • Participation in spiritual or religious groups has undergone a trend of steady increase since 2004, with nearly 60% of respondents participating in 2010.
  • Central Texans report voting in local elections (at bottom of chart) at lower rates than they report voting in national elections. Self-reported voting (by a survey sample population) has consistently been shown to be dramatically greater than actual voting participation.
Local Action

Survey Question: In the last 12 months, tell me what types of local groups you have been involved in or actions you have taken as a result of your concern or interest in the future of your community:


A majority of Central Texans engage in their communities in multiple ways beyond voting.


Central Texans are engaged in their communities and participate in civic processes.


Intervention in community processes drives sustainability. Engagement opportunities range well beyond voting booths and include public hearings, media campaigns, church, and even protests. They vary widely between different communities of interest and are necessary on almost any issue related to economy, safety, health, social equity, education, environment, or land use.


Voter Turnout by Race/Ethnicity

Voter Registration

Self-Reported “Well-Informed”