Diane Miller ACF Abstract FY10

Impact of Size of Place on Sense of Community

Conference Name: Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters (MASAL)

This study examines the impact of size of place on sense of community using data from the 2002-2004 National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey. The author argues that residents of places of high population density will have more altruistic feelings and greater altruistic behaviors than less urbanized places with lower population densities. Such altruistic feelings and behaviors contribute to the development of greater social capital and an enhanced sense of community. Social capital, defined as people establishing networks, trust, positive relationships, mutual interests and support, is used to create opportunities to connect that eventually influence the neighborhood’s sense of community. GSS questions that measure altruistic feelings and behaviors were combined in indexes and used as dependent variables and size of place, age, and education were used as independent variables in the ANOVA analysis. The results indicate that where people live, and their age and education, ultimately influence the development of social capital and sense of community.