Social Capital Community Benchmark Study
Community Highlights For Guilford County, NC

[Community Highlights] [Press Release]

Sponsoring Organizations:

  • The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro
  • The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation
  • Cemala Foundation
  • The Hillsdale Fund
  • News & Record Foundation
  • The Moses Cone-Wesley Long Community Health Foundation
  • The Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation

Media Contact:
Melissa M. Staples
Vice President, Marketing and Communications
The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro
100 S. Elm St., Suite 307
Greensboro, NC 27401-2638
(336) 379-9100

Sample Size:

Survey area:
Guilford County, including city of Greensboro and city of High Point

Community type:
This area is a mix of medium size city and suburbs

(U.S. Census Bureau)

White- (Total) 71.0%
White (non-Hispanic) 69.6%
Black 26.6%
Asian 0.5%
Hispanic 1.7%* (Significant undercount)
Other-(Native American) 1.8%
(U.S. Census Bureau data)

Age breakdown:
0-4 6.5%
5-17 16.9%
18-24 10.4%
25-44 31.3%
45-64 22.6%
65+ 12.2%
(U.S. Census Bureau data)

Additional information:
Guilford County is located in the north central, or Piedmont, section of North Carolina. Two cities, High Point (74,000 pop.) and Greensboro (205,000 pop.), make up the bulk of the county population but there are many smaller towns and rural areas as well. The countywide public school system serves 60,000 students and there are eight colleges serving 29,000 students.
Located just a few hours from both the mountains and the coast, the Piedmont enjoys a mild climate that is conducive to many outdoor sports and activities. It is considered an attractive, livable area with many parks and green spaces, minimal traffic and short commutes, as well as a wide variety of arts and cultural activities.
It is interesting to note that the Piedmont is home to the largest Montegnard (Vietnamese) population outside their native land.
A recent study, commissioned by several foundations and produced by McKinsey & Co., shows that between 1994-99 a fundamental shift has occurred in the county's economy.
While the economy has grown by 2.4%, it has not kept pace with the state as a whole, trailing in population growth, employment growth and per-capital income growth.
The county has lost jobs in its traditional manufacturing sector (textiles, apparel, furniture & tobacco) and replaced these higher wage jobs with lower paid service sector jobs. The service sector now constitutes 29% of the county's economy (up from 26%), while manufacturing has declined from 26% to 23% during the five-year period.

Survey highlights

Guilford County is a very compassionate giving community with high levels of giving to charities and volunteering. The community ranked 2nd out of 40 communities surveyed on this scale. Residents are highly engaged in faith-based activity and formal group activities, and there is broad distribution of civic leadership throughout the community. However, Guilford County ranks below average in terms of social trust and informal socializing. "Our time spent in formal group activities has not translated into building strong personal relationships across economic, racial or educational lines," notes Walker Sanders, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. "We need to build on the strong assets we have to get to know one another better and increase social trust throughout our community.

What do you intend to do about it?
We are taking the survey results into our community through public forums and presentations to civic groups, community leaders and others. During March and April, we hope to discuss issues raised and solicit input from a broad cross section of Guilford County. Ultimately, we hope citizens and groups will choose to address specific areas this study highlights and bring about lasting change.

From a community foundation perspective, we expect to focus on ways we can be more intentional in building social capital through our grantmaking activities. Specifically, we want to encourage more resources aimed at expanding "bridging" social capital in our community.