Last year, the Social Capital Project released its Social Capital Index
, a tool that measures the health of associational life across the United States. As explained in our earlier report, What We Do Together: The State of Associational Life in America,
we define associational life as the “web of social relationships through which we pursue joint endeavors—namely, our families, our communities, our workplaces, and our religious congregations.”1
Overall, Utah ranks as the state with the highest social capital among the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Utah’s robust associational life is likely connected to the history of many of its people, whose ancestors pioneered to the Salt Lake Valley in the mid-1800s to seek religious freedom and build a united, religious community.
The Index utilizes several categories of variables to measure social capital at the state level: family unity, family interaction, social support, community health, institutional health, collective efficacy, and philanthropic health. 2 Utah ranked number one on three of these categories—family unity, social support, and philanthropic health. It ranked within the top ten on three others—family interaction, collective efficacy, and community health. However, on institutional health it ranked all the way down at number 30.