Friday, March 27, 2009

How do we measure Social Capital?

Developing measures of social capital across individuals and communities has attracted a large amount of attention and policy interest. However, this is a difficult task.

A new Research Paper: Exploring Measures of Low Social Capital, March 2009 (cat. no. 1351.0.55.024) looks at issues relating to measuring social capital and the latest Australian General Social Survey.

The 2006 General Social Survey (GSS) (cat. no. 4159.0) provides an important opportunity to explore a range of measures of social capital and see how they are related to each other.
The GSS includes data on:
  • trust and feelings of safety
  • whether a person feels able to have a say on important issues, both with family and friends, and within the community
  • the frequency of contact with family and friends
  • the proportion of a person's friends who are of a similar age, of the same ethnic background, or of roughly the same level of education

The Social Capital theme page provides further information about social capital data in ABS publications. The recent release Sport and social capital (cat. no. 4197.0) examines the relationship between social wellbeing indicators and participation in sport and physical recreation.

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