The opportunity and challenge of faith-based civic engagement.

The opportunity and challenge of diversity

Community connectedness linked to happiness and vibrant communities

Dimensions of social capital

Variation between communities/community analysis

Survey design, methodology, and other housekeeping details

Raw data available from Roper Center

Table 1
Communities Surveyed, Geography of Area, and Sample Size

Table 2
Effective Sample Sizes and 95% Confidence Intervals for Percentage Estimates


Community connectedness linked to happiness and vibrant communities

Social capital and social trust matter a lot for both the quality of life in our communities and our personal happiness.

Social connectedness is a much stronger predictor of the perceived quality of life in a community than the community's income or educational level.  In the five communities surveyed having the highest social trust, 52% of residents rated their community as an excellent place to live, the highest possible grade.  In the five communities with the lowest levels of social trust, only 31% felt that good about their quality of life.

Similarly, personal happiness is also much more closely tied to the level of community social connectedness and trust than to income or educational levels.  This is true, even controlling for individual characteristics, such as income, education, and so on.  That is, even comparing two persons of identical income, education, race, age, and so on, the one living in a high social capital community typically reports greater personal happiness than his/her "twin" living in a low social capital community.  The same thing is not true of the overall level of community income or education.  In other words, your personal happiness is not directly affected by the affluence of your community, but it is quite directly affected by the social connectedness of your community.

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