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March 27, 2024

Narcan Babies

“As medical professionals who work with pregnant patients, you face numerous medical, legal, and ethical decision points when treating a patient for substance use during pregnancy, and when providing care to a neonate with drug or alcohol exposure.” So begins a pamphlet of advice for doctors and nurses that discourages them from reporting mothers for substance abuse…

March 12, 2024

Family Dinners Offer a Silver Lining in a Bleak Social Capital Landscape

Across a variety of indicators, social capital in America is deteriorating. But one trend appears to be cutting across conventional wisdom—gathering the family around the dinner table. Dinners offer an especially valuable chance for family members to come together and share the day’s highs and lows; discuss personal issues, current events, and big questions of…

February 5, 2024

Why We All Rely On the Organized Kindness of Strangers

Our church caught fire [i] a few weeks ago. The pastor and a few other leaders had just gotten out of a Monday night meeting when they found the sanctuary was filled with smoke and the entrance to the church was covered in flames. Fortunately, firefighters[ii] responded to the immediate 911 calls and saved the…

January 17, 2024

A Midwest State of Mind

This is an excerpt of a piece original published in American Purpose here. Although many now worry that it is endangered, American civil society has long been an important element of what has made the United States an “exceptional nation.” Historian Jon K. Lauck argues that in 19th century America, the surprising epicenter of that civil…

December 19, 2023

Sins of Omission: Public Broadcasting Fails to Reach a Broad Cross-Section of America

Increasing numbers of Americans get their news from Facebook and Apple but nonetheless, every day, six American television networks — ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, CNN and PBS — continue to broadcast a nightly newscast. Only one of these, however, is subsidized by taxpayers. The PBS NewsHour receives direct annual support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB); it…

November 13, 2023

Family’s Place in America’s Social Fabric

The family is arguably the most basic building block of community life.[i] But even as Americans continue to say their own families are centrally important in their lives[ii], family life in the United States more broadly has changed dramatically in recent decades. At the same time, adults are finding satisfaction in their relationships with friends…

November 8, 2023

Measuring the Geography of Social Networks

Social interactions shape social and economic activity across a range of domains, from migration and trade flows to job search and investment behaviors. However, quantifying the effects of social interactions has traditionally been complicated by the absence of large-scale representative data on social networks. Over the past years, we have worked with deidentified data on…

November 1, 2023

The Ultimate Social Capital: A Story to Save the Union

The American Republic is on the brink; a revived civic national story can help us all come together to pull ourselves back from the abyss That the bonds holding the United States have been weakening has been obvious for more than a decade now, a phenomenon this research series has been probing in regards to…

October 23, 2023

Teach Your Children Well

A few years ago, David Brooks wrote a column in which he took a friend without a high school degree to a sandwich shop. “Suddenly,” he recounted, “I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named ‘Padrino’ and ‘Pomodoro’ and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked…

September 27, 2023

The Good and Bad News About Boys and Men in Utah

For all that Utah is doing well, a concerning trend has surfaced amongst boys and men in the state.