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Who We Are

The Center for Civic Literacy is a multi-disciplinary research center established, with support from an IUPUI Signature Center grant, to examine the causes of Americans’ low levels of civic knowledge, and to investigate the consequences of this troubling phenomenon.

Survey research tells us that only 36 percent of Americans can name the three branches of government. Fewer than half of 12th grade students can define federalism. Barely 35 percent of teenagers recognize “We the People” as the first three words of the Constitution. Only five percent of high school seniors can define America’s system of checks and balances. These numbers are not an anomaly—studies consistently conclude that Americans have low levels of information about the most basic structures of our government.

We think this “civic deficit” is deeply worrisome.

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Our mission

Increase public understanding of our civic deficit and its effect on democratic decision making, and to identify and promote the use of effective tools to help educators and other correct this problem.

CCL will fulfil its mission through:

  • Scholarly research and publication website3
  • Public Teaching
  • Community-based partnerships

If you share our concerns, we invite you to view and subscribe to our blog, check out our free online journal, Civic Literacy, consider submitting an article on our blog, and/or consider donating to support our work.


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