"Social Capital" Key to Healthy, Stable Minority Neighborhoods

Study of urban neighborhood and community capacity building

From 1998 to 2001, investigators at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, part of the State University of New York, conducted the Urban Neighborhoods and Community Capacity Building Study.

The study, centered on 800 mostly working class and middle class African American neighborhoods, focused on "social capital": Sociocultural ties and civic infrastructure.

Key Findings

  • Nearly four out of five majority African-American neighborhoods are not poor.
  • Neighborhoods with a higher socioeconomic status tend to have stronger sociocultural ties.
  • Higher levels of civic infrastructure are associated with lower socioeconomic status and vice versa.
  • Neighborhoods whose socioeconomic status improved between 1980 and 1990 tend to have the highest levels of civic infrastructure.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $794,974 in partial funding for the study.