Civic Health Assessment


Dear Kentuckian,

It is a great privilege to serve as the 86th Kentucky Secretary of State.  In this role I have many duties, including managing elections, receiving business filings, holding land records, appointing notaries public, protecting the identity of domestic abuse victims, and filing and affirming numerous documents issued by the Governor and laws passed by the General Assembly.

These jobs are all critical components of democracy and help us in Kentucky to continue as a model of self-government both in the United States and abroad.  Perhaps one of the most critical roles I have is to assess and promote civic health.  Civic health can mean many things to many people.  To me it is the bedrock of our society.  It is not just going through the proper motions but understanding how they work for the common good.  

To that end, I took on this Kentucky Civic Health Assessment to help understand how well we are doing as a government by the people – as a people, self-governing.  To be frank, we need to do better.  It is no secret that America is more divided than we can remember.  But we are not just polarized, most signs suggest we are less engaged, less social, and more dogmatic in our differences. 

Unfortunately, Kentucky is no exception.  But Kentucky was founded by pioneers like Daniel Boone, who said they could do it better.  They could tame a rugged wilderness, they could prosper where others could not, and they could maintain order better than those from eastern capitols. 

We have had our ups and downs over the past 230 plus years, but in my mind, we have always been a leader.  Even when we are down, we pick ourselves up better than most, dust ourselves off, and get down to work.

In this assessment, we have found some great strengths we hope to build on.  We have also found some weaknesses, and like our forefathers and mothers, we can rise to the challenge and charge forward. 

Many people today say that America is more divided than at any time since just before the Civil War.  But it was Kentucky that produced Abraham Lincoln, who faced a divided nation and held that great nation together. 

My hope is that in our own self-reflections on our current state of civic health, that our pioneering spirit and can-do attitude will be a model to bring this nation together once again.  It is said a rising tide lifts all boats. I say a rising Kentucky lifts a nation.    

I hope this report brings you pride but also some self-reflection.  I hope it taps into that uniquely Kentucky spirit that beats in all our hearts.


                                       SOS Signature.PNG

                                                Michael G. Adams
                                                Secretary of State of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

View the Executive Summary:Civic Health Assessment Executive Summary​.pdf 

View the full report :Civic Health Assessment.pdf 

​​View/download infographics:
Civic Health Assessment-Polarization.pdf

Civic Health Assessment-Social Civics.pdf

Civic Health Assessment-Media Trust.pdf

Civic Health Assessments​-Civic Knowledge.pdf