by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Charles Fain Lehman of the Washington Free Beacon documents a new measure of social capital.
A new index … tracks social capital in America, showing the distribution of the nation’s togetherness in a time when many worry it is coming apart.
The index is a product of the Social Capital Project, the work of Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) and the Congressional Joint Economic Committee. The SCP is focused on measuring the decline in social capital, the measure of how tightly tied to communities and to one another Americans are. …
… The results indicate important variations in the regional distribution of social capital. The helpful, interactive maps provided by the project show that social capital concentrates mostly in the upper Midwest, spreading to the Pacific northwest and concentrating in states like Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota. By contrast, measures of social capital are weakest in the south, but also in states like New York and California, and in states struck by the opioid crisis like West Virginia and Kentucky.
The consequences of this means that few Americans live in the areas with the highest social capital, while large concentrations of Americans live in the areas with the least. 24 percent of Americans are in the top two-fifths of social capital counties; 59 percent live in the bottom two-fifths.