The annual ranking of health for nearly every county in the nation takes a closer look at the way health relates to opportunities people have to participate in their communities. The analysts examined two elements of civic health: 1) civic infrastructure, which includes the spaces such as schools, parks, and libraries; and 2) civic participation, which includes the ways people engage in community life. While their research found examples of rural towns with a strong sense of community, there was more evidence that policies and practices that disconnect people from each other, from opportunity, and from the land – for example, racial segregation and legal action to terminate Tribal rights – were more often happening in rural areas. The report devotes a lot to voting, volunteering, and responding to the Census as important examples of civic participation and provides the data to show a direct link between civic health and population health. See Policy Updates below for recent changes brought by the 2020 Census.
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