rural south dakota! (^_^) no, really.

luke asked: “OT, but maybe you can do some posts in the future on the ‘happiest, healthiest communities’ in the U.S., assuming there are some. Putnam, for example, has shown an inverse relationship between diversity and trust. So presumably he found some high-trust communities somewhere? Are they just neighborhoods in large metro areas? What about Lake Wobegons?”

well, i looked up putnam’s “E Pluribus Unum” paper [opens pdf] and, yes, he did indeed find some high-trust communities somewhere: rural south dakota, bismarck (north dakota), new hampshire, (moving to) montana, lewiston (maine)…. omg! it’s proximity to canada, again!

putnam looked at racial homogeneity in communities and inter-racial trust, racial homogeneity in communities and trust of neighbors, racial homogeneity in communities and intra-racial trust, and racial homogeneity in communities and ethnocentric trust. on each of these metrics, those communities with greater homogeneity just had more trust in all directions — the opposite was true in heterogeneous communities.

if trust means “happiest and healthiest” — and it sure seems to be important in having a functioning society (at least functioning as we know it) — then homogeneity is the way to go.

here are some of putnam’s graphs for you to enjoy. click on graphs for a LARGER view (should open in a new tab/window — you might have to give ‘em a click there, too, to view them full-size):

note that rural south dakota should NOT be confused with north minneapolis, which is a very vibrant community.

(note: comments do not require an email. south dakota!)

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