What is civic engagement? Do you civically engage yourself in your community? What leads one to do so? Civic engagement is any individual or group activity addressing issues of public concern. Some might think people civically engage out of compassion for others, or to feel good about themselves. However, the several studies discussed in this essay reveal the reason why; people civically engage themselves more so in correlation to the level of education they have attained, as well as their age.
The more education an individual has received, the more involved they are in their community, as well as online. According to a 2013 study on civic engagement, when looking at those who were directly involved with a civic group or activity in their community, 59% of them were college graduates, compared to the 33% who had less than a high school education. Further evidence can be seen when looking at those who were publicly communicating about political issues online; 51% were college graduates, while only 10% were people who didn’t even have a high school diploma (Source #3).
These statistics clearly show that people who are more educated tend to be more civically engaged not only in their community, but online as well. Those who are less educated tend to not voice their thoughts on political issues or involve themselves in civic activities in their communities as often.
Additionally, younger people (ages 18-29) are more likely to civically engage themselves than older people. In fall of 2016, two courses in civic learning were implemented into general education requirements at California State University at Los Angeles (CSULA).
In the article discussing the matter (Source #5), Michael Willard, CSULA’s faculty director for the university’s Office of Service Learning, states, “What’s happening across higher education is a recognition that we need to fulfill our historic mission of preparing students to be citizens through new forms of engagement in civil society.” The article also states that at the time of this articles’ release, a “handful of colleges were already placing a greater emphasis on civic learning.” Since more colleges are starting to implement civic courses into their curriculum like CSULA has, this means that more young college students will be civically informed more so than the previous generations of students. Younger people will be more civically engaged than older people because those before them did not receive the same education as the students learning now.
The relationship between civic engagement and education level is undeniable; the more educated and younger you are, the more civically engaged you will tend be. The studies referred to in this essay have shown that people with more education lean towards a more civically engaged lifestyle, and now colleges are requiring students to receive education on civic engagement, which will lead to a newer, larger generation of those who participate in their community for the betterment of others. Many will not need to ask the same questions asked at the beginning of this essay in the near future if a trend of younger, more educated people continues to grow.