Three Core Measures of Community-Based Civic Engagement

Indicators of Positive Development Conference
March 12-13, 2003
Bureau of Labor Statistics Conference Center
Washington, DC


Three Core Measures of Community-Based Civic Engagement:  Evidence from the Youth Civic Engagement Indicators Project

Scott Keeter, George Mason University, Krista Jenkins, Rutgers University, Cliff Zukin, Rutgers University, and Molly Andolina, DePaul University

Using data derived from an extensive study of civic and political engagement in the U.S. with a special emphasis on youth, this paper documents 15-19 year-olds’ involvement in civic life. We address the importance of youth civic engagement for later involvement in public life and document the extent to which youth ages 15-19 are involved in activities broadly construed as community centered. Specific attention will be paid to engagement in community problem solving, volunteering, and group or organizational membership. We describe the process used to select the indicators used to measure these behaviors, and address the methodological problems associated with proper measurement. Finally, we provide evidence regarding the reliability and validity of our indicators.