A new study featuring Lexington as an example has revealed “a correlation between economic growth and citizens’ attachment to their cities.” The “Soul of the Community” poll was funded by the Knight Foundation and conducted by Gallup. The Herald-Leader explained the results for Lexington.
Here’s some info about the study from its web site:
Soul of the Community (SOTC) is a three-year study conducted by Gallup of the 26 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation communities across the United States employing a fresh approach to determine the drivers of emotional community-citizen engagement and its role in community economic growth and well-being. The study focuses on the emotional side of the connection between residents and their communities.
In its first year, the study compared residents’ engagement level to the GDP growth in the 26 communities over the past five years. The findings show a significant correlation between community-citizen engagement and the economic growth. Over the coming years, the researchers will analyze the trends of both community-citizen engagement and economic growth and definitively show whether community engagement drives economic growth or the other way around. Within a smaller microcosm, such as a company, Gallup has been able to show that increasing employee engagement will indeed lead to improved financial performance.
Social offerings is the most important driver of community-citizen engagement overall. Aesthetics and openness/welcomeness to others also have major influence on community-citizen engagement.
With the love floating around Louisville, it’s a wonder we don’t have three arenas and five Museum Plazas already. You can download the entire report here (Warning: PDF). It’s not surprising that the study finds wealthy retirees to be the most engaged in the community, but it seems to us that Louisville was a wider demographic love than the average city. From the Herald-Leader:
The study showed that those who were engaged with their community tended to be over 65, retired, widowed and made more than $75,000 a year. Those who were least engaged in the community were those 18-34 years old and made less than $25,000 a year.