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 (57.0% compared to 46.0% in 2018). The 2018 voting-age turnout in North Dakota was higher than the previous two mid-term elections in 2010 (47.9%) and 2014 (46.8%).
  • The percent of North Dakota’s residents (age 16 and older) who volunteer was higher than the U.S. average in 2017 (40.3% in North Dakota and 32.0% in the U.S.).
  • North Dakota residents mostly volunteered for religious institutions (56.4%), followed by educational or youth service organizations (46.4%). The most common volunteer activities in North Dakota were collect/prepare/distribute food and fundraise or sell items to raise money (50.9% and 44.3%, respectively) in 2017.

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.


Folkways: Building a vibrant community one memorable experience at a time

"Folkways celebrates the wonders of Fargo by collaborating with all the culture creators thus creating vibrant and welcoming platforms for people to thrive… The Folkways model and approach can be applied anywhere when you have five precious ingredients for your community culture recipe."

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Kristy Huber: Do you know the Return on Investment on your charitable giving?

"The definition of investment is to buy something with the expectation that it will increase in value. When an individual makes a gift to United Way, they are not givers or donors, but investors. It is our job to invest their dollars into strategies that can produce results. The donors’ expectation is that there will be an increase in value for the community."

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North Dakota Compass

Center for Social Research
North Dakota State University

Compass created by:
Wilder Research

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