Guest 1999 - "Social ties at the neighborhood level: Two decades of GSS evidence"

Guest, Wierzbicki
"Social ties at the neighborhood level: Two decades of GSS evidence"
Urban Affairs Review   
September 1, 1999; v35, n1, pp 92-111
On the Web
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This article is mostly a by-the-book summary of the General Social Survey's findings on social capital from 1972 to the 1990s. It appears to question many of Putnam's findings about the seriousness and quality of the decline of US social capital. It also examines many of the theories about why social capital is eroding--urban form/highways, women in the workforce, structural social changes, etc. There's not much that's terribly relevant to our work, but two things bear mentioning.

The headline: "The data show a relatively continuous, albeit slow, decline in the importance of social ties on the basis of neighborhood and, in turn, an even smaller upward growth in the importance of nonneighborhood social ties."

There was no difference between central cities and suburbs (or other areas for that matter). The authors divided the GSS samples into four urban-form categories: central city of large metro area, suburbs of large metro area, other urban areas, and rural areas. "We examined the effect of locale over the three decades but found no significant interaction."


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