MADISON, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) – As volunteering, donating, and participating in politics seem to be declining across the country—the Badger State actually leads by example more than you might realize when it comes to overall civic health.

However, the trend could be slipping. Wisconsin is now joining 30 other states in an on-going effort to boost participation.

The first-ever report on Wisconsin's civic health had some positive findings, which Mary Beth Collins with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Human Ecology wants to make sure stays strong and even improves.

“Even though we are ranking second in the nation for voting, and 10th in the nation for registration, in the 50 states, the percentages there are pretty low, so second in the nation—we are still having only 64.6% of our citizens vote,” Collins said.

A drop in voter participation between 2012 and 2016 is raising concerns about future trends, along with how much Wisconsinites actually volunteer and stay connected with family and friends.

“Ironically, in terms of helping out neighbors or friends in a very specific or concrete way we were really low, and volunteering regularly we were pretty low and so we had some questions about what that really means,” Collins said.

One theory is that because questions were asked of individuals who gave subjective answers, people may be helping family and friends in ways that count but they are not thinking about it that way.

The study also found a decline in local media and the competitiveness of local elections, usually in rural areas.

“If you don't have a media source that is specifically focusing on the issues of your community, and your elections are becoming less competitive, that's usually considered a sign that civic participation would continue to decline,” Collins said.

Another trend is less educated Wisconsinites participating in fewer civic activities than those with more education.

Wisconsin law now requires graduating high school students to take a 100 question civics test, which Collins hopes will help boost participation if students decide not to continue their education.

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“We really hope that five, 10, 15 years from now we'll look back on this first report as an important first step in really doing the work across many communities to ensure that folks in Wisconsin are participating,” Collins said.