Utah Thrives Podcast | The Middle-Class and Social Cohesion

Written by: Peter Reichard

How does economic stratification look in Utah? Utah is unique among Western States on a key measure of social cohesion   In March, the Utah Foundation put out a new edition in our Utah Social Capital Series called The Soil of Common Ground: Social Cohesion in Utah. On maybe the most important metric, Utah came out on top nationally. On another, Utah stands alone in the Western states. In this edition of Utah Thrives, Utah Foundation Senior … Continued

Op-Ed: America’s middle class is in trouble, but not in Utah

Written by: Peter Reichard

The nation’s middle class has gradually been shrinking. Fifty years ago, more than 60% of Americans were in the middle class. Now the percentage is less than 50%. It’s worth noting that the upper class grew during that time. But so did the lower class. In short, our nation is becoming increasingly stratified. This is particularly evident when we look at America’s major cities and the urban-rural divide. A robust middle class provides a pipeline … Continued

Utah Thrives Podcast | The Surprising Effects of the Pandemic on Families

Written by: Peter Reichard

Prior to Pandemic, Utah Family Life Saw Shocking Declines on Key Metrics The Pandemic Made Eye-Opening Impacts — both for Good and Ill   There’s only so much time in the day, and most parents need to know that they need to work intently to make sure family time is well-spent. And while families in Utah are well-structured, the time families spend at home may not be. That problem — and the surprising effects of the … Continued

Op-ed: Utah has strong families, but warning signs loom

Written by: Peter Reichard

Confucius may have put it most succinctly in observing that “the strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” Family is the basic building block of society. To the extent that families are stable, the larger civilization benefits from greater social stability. To the extent that family connections are strong, the members of that family will tend to enjoy stronger social capital and related socioeconomic benefits. Strong family health is inextricably linked … Continued

Op-ed: Utahns score well on the ‘art of association,’ except in this category

Written by: Peter Reichard

Going back to Alexis de Tocqueville’s monumental study of the American character in the 1830s, the U.S. has been known for what the Frenchman called our “art” of association. He noted not only “commercial and industrial associations in which all take part,” but also that Americans participate in groups that are “religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small.” But those studying the American art of association find that it … Continued

Utah Thrives Podcast | Can Utah be Trusted?

Written by: Peter Reichard

Podcast Explores Measures of Social Trust   Successful social interactions depend on trust. Social trust has major implications for the prosperity of the economy, the health of a democracy, the strength of the social fabric, and the support of strong social capital. But how solid are the bonds of trust in the Beehive State? That’s the question we explore in a recent Utah Foundation report called The Kindness of Strangers: Social Trust in Utah. It’s … Continued

Op-ed: Our national fabric is tearing. Here’s how to fix it

Written by: Peter Reichard

There’s no use in pretending anymore. Our national fabric has been tearing for decades. Political polarization is widening. The economic divide keeps growing. Solidarity is slipping away. Social capital is in decline. Shaylyn Romney Garrett, co-author with Robert Putnam of “The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can do it Again,” illuminated the convergence of these challenges at the Utah Foundation’s recent 2021 annual luncheon. The situation is not good. … Continued

Utah Thrives Podcast | Narcissism and the Unraveling of Society

Written by: Peter Reichard

Are We Living Through a Second Gilded Age? On multiple measures — political polarization, economic inequality, social capital and cultural solidarity — America is heading decisively in the wrong direction. But have we been here before? And what can we learn from our past successes in coming together? Why are state and local-level solutions so important? In this installment of Utah Thrives, we hear insights from Shaylyn Romney Garrett, co-author with Robert Putnam of The … Continued

Utah Thrives Podcast | Civic Engagement

Written by: Peter Reichard

The measures of civic engagement in Utah reveal a mixed bag. That’s the conclusion of a new Utah Foundation report called The The Measure of a Citizen: Civic Engagement in Utah. It’s the first installment in our new Utah Social Capital Series. And the findings of the report raise a lot of questions. Utah Foundation Senior Analyst Christopher Collard and President Peter Reichard explore those questions in this edition of Utah Thrives, the Utah Foundation … Continued

When it comes to civic engagement in Utah, it’s a mixed bag

Written by: Peter Reichard

Going back 200 years, strong citizen engagement in the democratic process and in civic improvement has served as a barometer of the vitality of the American republic. It’s a matter of good government: At the state and local levels, civic engagement has significant implications for the effectiveness and efficiency of government, the quality of services and the responsiveness of public officials to citizen priorities. A decline in civic engagement can reduce the accountability of the … Continued