Improving Quality of Life

Quality of life can be improved when citizens participate in the life of the community, engaging in both political and non-political activities, in order to improve conditions for others and to help shape the community's future.

We all benefit when everyone participates in society—by volunteering and raising funds for charitable causes; by running for office and voting; or by actively engaging in public policy discussions.

What's happening

  • North Dakota has consistently had a higher voter turnout among the voting-age population than the nation (61.3% compared to 55.0% in 2016). Within the state, there is very little difference in turnout by metropolitan status. However, voter turnout rates in planning regions ranged from 53.3 percent in Region III in 2016 to 69.7 percent in Region VII.
  • The percent of North Dakota’s residents (age 16 and older) who volunteer has been consistently somewhat higher than the U.S. average (32.0% in North Dakota and 24.9% in the U.S., in 2015).
  • North Dakota residents mostly volunteered for religious institutions (48.2%), followed by social and community service organizations (20.6%). The most common volunteer activities in North Dakota were collect/prepare/distribute food and collect/make/distribute clothing (30.7% and 28.6%, respectively) for 2015.

Making connections

A strong economy and business climate provide resources for community involvement and foster employee participation in their communities. Furthermore, volunteering can develop skills and confidence that make individuals employable and strengthen the networks that help them to find jobs.  

Civic engagement helps youth and young adults build social capital and skills that can help them find meaningful education and career pathways. Increased education in turn, produces resources that raise an individual’s access and potential contribution to volunteering and fosters organizational and communication skills necessary for successful civic engagement and leadership.

Research also found a significant relationship between volunteering and health; when individuals volunteer, they not only help their community but also experience better health in later years, whether in terms of increased longevity, higher functional ability, or lower rates of depression.


Leola Daul: Heart-n-Soul Community Café: A place where all are welcome to enjoy a local, healthy, and delicious meal no matter their ability to pay

"The Community Café is a nonprofit café where all are welcome and served with dignity and respect regardless of a person’s ability to pay...The Community Café also prides itself on engaging community members to share their talents and utilizes volunteers to the greatest extent possible to put a meal on tables. Examples of people who have donated their time include college students, service groups, organizations for serving and preparing food, and guest chefs from the community".

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Megan Laudenschlager : Engaging Millennials in the Future of Minot

"Clearly the Millennial presence and demand for quality of life opportunities are being felt in the community; however, Millennials (both natives and non-natives) are still relatively underrepresented in leadership activities throughout the community".

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North Dakota Compass

North Dakota Compass

Compass created by:
Wilder Research

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