States in which a big share of people volunteer, vote, and participate in other civic events tended to suffer the least-drastic increases in joblessness during the downturn, according to a new report.
The study, by the National Conference on Citizenship and others, mined federal labor statistics and Census data from about 50,000 American households. It found that states that did well based on five measures—helping neighbors, volunteering, registering to vote, voting, and attending meetings—in 2006 did not face big rises in unemployment from 2006 to 2010.
States in which a high proportion of people helped their neighbors did best, followed by those with strong volunteering rates.
Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont were among states with the highest rates of volunteering and some of the smallest increases in unemployment from 2006 to 2010. On the other end of the spectrum, the states with the lowest rates of volunteering and helping neighbors had the highest rise in unemployment during that time: Alabama, California, Florida, Nevada, and Rhode Island.