Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey
Community Highlights for Grand Rapids, Michigan

[Community Highlights] [Press Release] [Survey Highlights]

Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Media Contact:
Tim Penning, Communications and Public Relations Director


161 Ottawa Avenue NW
209-C Waters Building
Grand Rapids, MI  49503

Email address:
Web address:

Survey Area:
City of Grand Rapids, Michigan

Community Description:


U.S. Census - 1990

White:             72%
Black:             18.4%
Asian:             1%
Hispanic:            4.5%

U.S. Census - 1990

18-34:             61,011
35-49:             32,276
50-64:             19,095
65+:                24,711

U.S. Census - 1990

Additional Information:

As Michigan’s second largest city, Grand Rapids is home to hard-working and friendly residents, safe streets, and close-knit neighborhoods.  The City is the pulse of West Michigan and is the keystone of the region’s economy as well as its business, convention, and cultural center. 

Survey Results:

The City of Grand Rapids is high in many aspects of social capital compared to what is expected, or projected, for a community with its racial, urban, age, and educational level composition.  Here ranked in order by the level by which Grand Rapids exceeds expected norms, are the components of social capital for the City:

Charity – Grand Rapids is well above the norm on an index of charity that combines volunteering and giving to charities.

Involvement with organizations including religious groups – Grand Rapids people are involved with community organizations.

Faith based social capital – Religion and religious groups play important roles in the City of Grand Rapids.  72% of Grand Rapids adults rate religion as very important to their lives (compared to 63% nationally)

Involvement with groups, not including religious groups – even when religious-related organizations are excluded, residents of the City of Grand Rapids are high on associations with community organizations and activities.

Social trust – Grand Rapids is somewhat higher than projected for social trust

Racial trust – Grand Rapids is somewhat higher than projected for racial trust

Next steps:

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation has adopted the need to promote social capital as one its key principles for involvement in the community.  As a result, potential grantees will be asked to respond to how their program or project builds and sustains social capital in our community.  In addition, the Foundation will use the results from the benchmark survey to develop special program initiatives to promote the concept of social capital in the community.