Understanding Civic Engagement in Houston
How residents participate in their community to build a vibrant Houston region with opportunity for all.
Civic engagement includes a variety of different activities an individual can take to shape the future of their community and to improve the condition of the community members. A civically-engaged resident is invested in their community’s overall well-being, that of its most marginalized groups, and actively works toward its betterment by engaging in the political process, participating in civic institutions and giving back. When Houstonians stay connected and engaged, we cultivate trust and achieve more as a region. Places with high levels of civic engagement have lower levels of unemployment, better schools, stronger health and more responsive governments. However, widespread participation is ultimately dependent on the levels of the perceived extent to which that community, society or government has held up its end of the social contract and developed trust among members. Since not all residents participate at the ideal levels, the needs and concerns of our most marginalized residents may go unheard and unaddressed.
The more we can build trust and connection among our neighbors to ensure that the needs of all our residents are being met, levels of civic engagement in the Houston region will rise.