Our relationships are valuable. What we do together matters. Unfortunately, community and family life in the United States have withered. The likelihood births are to married mothers, weekly church attendance, and being generally trusting of others all fell by at least one-fourth between 1972 and 2018.✝
America is suffering from mutually reinforcing crises of social isolation, nonparticipation, and distrust. As individuals, this deterioration has left us lonely, resentful, and without a sense of purpose; as a society, we are wholly unable to locate the common good.
AEI has long recognized the importance of social connection and civil society for promoting social mobility, opportunity, and human flourishing. The Social Breakdown aims to generate renewed attention to the importance of social capital in the lives of Americans and fresh insights on patterns of social poverty.
Social connection and participation in civil society are of vital importance for promoting opportunity. The Social Breakdown explores the health of social capital in America and offers fresh insights on social poverty.
November 13, 2023
The family is arguably the most basic building block of community life. But even as Americans continue to say their own families are centrally important in their lives, 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 and coworkers. Many say having close friends and an enjoyable job are the keys to a fulfilling life.
November 8, 2023
Data from online social networking services provides a unique opportunity to measure the structure of real world social networks and variation in measures of social capital across locations. The publicly available Social Connectedness Index is a great example of the power of these data sources, providing rich information that allows researchers to better understand both the determinants and the effects of the spatial structure of social networks.
November 1, 2023
That the bonds holding the United States have been weakening has been obvious for more than a decade now. One big picture manifestation of these patterns is our inability to agree on the fundamental terms of our national purpose in a way that can transcend differences that are geographic even as they are ideological. How did we get to this point and what can bring us back from the brink?