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Community Organizations: Notes & Sources


Confidence interval (also called "error bar") is the range of values that includes the true value 95% of the time. If the confidence intervals of two groups do not overlap, the difference between groups is statistically significant (meaning that chance or random variation is unlikely to explain the difference).   

King County regions: The geographic boundaries of the four King County sub-regions (North, Seattle, East, and South) are defined by the aggregation of ZIP codes. See map of regions here.

Race/Ethnicity: Federal standards mandate that race and ethnicity (Hispanic origin) are distinct concepts requiring 2 separate questions when collecting data from an individual. "Hispanic origin" is meant to capture the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of an individual (or his/her parents) before arriving in the United States. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race. Communities Count's terms for racial/ethnic groups are derived from those used by the U.S Census Bureau in 2010.

  • Communities Count terms:  Hispanic, Non-Hispanic, White Non-Hispanic, Black, American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN), Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NHPI), White, and Multiple Race (Multiple). Persons of Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race and are included in other racial categories. Racial/ethnic groups are sometimes combined when sample sizes are too small for valid statistical comparisons of more discrete groups. 
  • 2010 Census terms: Hispanic or Latino, Not Hispanic or Latino, White alone (Not Hispanic or Latino),  Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White, Some Other Race, and Two or More Races.


Active participation in community organizations:  Involvement in community organizations was assessed by asking King County adults how actively they had participated in 7 specific types of organizations in the past 12 months, and if they had participated in any additional organizations:   

In the past 12 months, have you been very or somewhat active in…

  • a school or educational organization?
  • a religious group or congregation?
  • an arts, culture, music or theater group?
  • a neighborhood organization or block club (a group that exists for people right in your neighborhood)?
  • a youth or youth sports organization?
  • a political group?
  • a civic group such as the Kiwanis, NAACP or the Japanese American Citizens League?

Trends were mixed, depending on sampling methods. Prior to 2011, Communities Count conducted its survey exclusively via random-digit-dial landline phone contact. Starting in 2011, Communities Count broadened its sampling method to include address-based sampling for mailed questionnaires, and added an internet response option.  The new method produced a more representative sample of the county population.

  • Comparing the responses of adults interviewed in the same manner in 2004, 2007, and 2011 (landline random-digit-dial phone survey), no significant trends were revealed. 
  • However, when the 2004 and 2007 landline-only responses were compared to all responses of the 2011 participants (who could respond via mail or internet in addition to landline phone interviews), active participation in community organizations appeared to decline between 2007 and 2011.
  • In all four regions, active participation was lower for those sampled with the new method than with the landline-only sample.
  • Although the 2011 sample was more representative of the King County population than a landline-only sample, the only thing we can say with confidence is that participation in community organizations did not show an increasing trend.

Type of organization by age:

  18 - 24 25 - 44 45 - 64 65+
  School  54% 41% 41% 27%
  Religious  42% 31% 41% 46%
  Arts, Culture, Music, Theater 36% 22% 28% 28%
  Youth, Youth sports  30% 29% 34% 12%
  Neighborhood, Block Group 17% 19% 23% 27%
  Political  13% 10% 17% 22%
  Civic  10% 12% 14% 17%

Statistical significance: Unless otherwise noted, any difference mentioned in the text is statistically significant (unlikely to have occurred by chance).

Data Sources

Communities Count Survey (2004, 2007, 2011):  Respondents came from a random sample of all King County households.  Due to the limitations of surveys that rely exclusively on landline telephones, in 2011 Communities Count used a mixed-mode survey involving both random-digit-dial phone contact and address-based sampling for mailed questionnaires, with an internet response option as well. Phone interviews were conducted in English, Spanish, and, upon request, a few additional languages. Possible limitations of this kind of survey include: (a) people who do not have a telephone or a permanent address are missed; (b) people who do not speak English or Spanish may not participate; (c) people who have less education and lower incomes tend to be under-represented.

Other Sources

Maps of King County covering a wide range of topics can be accessed at  Maps most immediately relevant to Communities Count are under the headings of Community data & demographics, Public health, and Environment & natural resources, but other maps should be useful as well (farmers markets, transit routes, walking and biking routes, parks, traffic counts, etc.).

Quotes:  Communities Count interviewed 32 King County parents or guardians raising at least one child younger than 6 years of age.  We reached out to communities of color, recent immigrants, and residents with limited English proficiency to achieve a broad range of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity. We interviewed both families with very low household income and those who earned up to median income (about $68,000 for a family of four in 2010). Family structures included single-parent households, couples living in consensual unions, married couples, and extended families.