Just as segregation cuts across all the determinants, social capital also carries tremendous power to influence outcomes in each of the areas.
A Cross-Cutting Factor
Social capital refers to networks, connections, and access to people who produce information, resources and opportunities. As it is often said, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” People with ample social capital are typically paid better and promoted more often and at younger ages. They are also more likely to obtain loans, get capital for starting a business, and build successful businesses and careers. Social capital can take on a number of different forms: bonding social capital exists within families or peer groups; linking social capital connects people to information and resources beyond their immediate circle; and bridging social capital refers to social networks between groups representing diverse interests. Each is equally important.
Social capital was the one intangible factor that children and youth identified during our community sessions as most important to them. While it is difficult to quantify and measure, increasing social capital and access to life navigators could be one of the most impactful strategies and should be interwoven into all of the other determinants.
Task Force Strategy to Address Social Capital
Ensure all children, youth and families have relationships in the community that connect them to opportunities, information, and resources; broaden their horizons about what’s possible in their lives; assist in navigating through unexpected crises to stay on track; offer tangible pathways toward achieving their aspirations; and demonstrate to every child, youth, and family that their contribution is vital to the success of our community.