A doctor who wants to determine a patient's health will gather all kinds of data - temperature, blood pressure, pulse, weight, blood test results, and the like - to come up with an overall picture of how the patient is doing.
The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin kind of did the same thing to determine the civic health of Texas. Bad news: this patient's not in good shape.
The Institute used data from the 2011 U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey on Voting, Volunteering, and Civic Engagement to determine how Texas stacks up on factors such as voter registration, voter turnout, one-on-one and online discussions about politics, volunteering, and donating to charity.
A couple of highlights... or lowlights... from the report:
*Texas ranked at the bottom of the list in 2010 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia on voter turnout.
*Texas ranked 43rd in donating, 42nd in volunteering, and 37th in group membership.
Institute Director Regina Lawrence believes the whole state suffers when only a few make the electoral choices for all. Which begs the questions: what would it take to get more people to the polls and participating in civic life?
You can click here for a link to the full Texas Civic Health Index.