WASHINGTON – The Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress issued a new report Wednesday, showing that Utah has the highest level of social capital of any state in the nation.
The Social Capital Index is a first time report that provides social capital scores for 2,992 of the country’s 3,142 counties, all 50 states, and the District of Columbia. It uses county- and state-level data on a range of social, economic, demographic, health, religious, and other indicators to measure the health of each locality’s “associational life.”
“Associational life” is the shorthand the Social Capital Project uses for the web of social relationships through which we pursue joint endeavors—namely, our families, our communities, our workplaces, and our religious congregations.
The 12 states with the highest social capital scores are distributed across two continuous blocs: nine states running from Utah, through Wyoming and Colorado, across the Dakotas and Nebraska, and over to Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin; and the three Northern New England states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. These states tend to rank highly across all seven subindices as well. Utah has the highest social capital score, followed by Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“Today a lot of our communities are struggling with challenges like addiction, family breakdown, and isolation. Obviously, some communities are hurting much more than others. So before we can do something about it, we first have to know where our civil society is flourishing and where it’s not,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said. “This report is a tool. The Index gives us a lens through which to look at both problems and solutions going forward.”
You can read the full report here.
State and county-wide maps can be found here.
More information about the Social Capital Project can be found here.
Washington Post coverage of the index can be found here.