Significant Statistics | Utah’s Social Capital Index score stands at 94. What does that mean?

Written by: Peter Reichard

In July, the Utah Foundation released the eighth report in its Social Capital Series, summarizing the findings of the series and tallying the metrics we deployed. Across roughly 30 metrics in seven categories, Utah emerged with a strikingly high composite score of 94.
In 2021, Utah had the highest level of social capital in the nation, and has consistently been among the top states during the previous eight years. Following a decline, Utah’s index number began rising after 2017.
The importance of social capital cannot be overstated. Low social capital levels often lead to poor economic and social outcomes, both for individuals and for populations. Policymakers seek to ameliorate these poor outcomes through endeavors that span educational efforts, public assistance programs and law enforcement interventions. As social capital declines, the challenges become more acute – and social scientists across the political spectrum affirm that social capital in the U.S. is in long-term decline. But in places where social capital is comparatively robust, it can translate into heightened economic prospects and lower demands on the public sector. Utah is just such a place. 
Interestingly, neighboring Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona have some of the very lowest social capital in the nation. Were they to suddenly obtain Utah’s levels of social capital, the impacts would be significant; they might see themselves as entering into a time of social flourishing. All of this is to say that Utahns should pay close attention to social capital, shoring up its strengths and addressing its weaknesses.
Get the full picture by visiting the Utah Social Capital Series project page here. You can listen to Utah Foundation President Peter Reichard discuss social capital in the Salt Lake Chamber’s “Speaking on Business” segment below.
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