Journal of Democracy, 6, 65-78. (On the other hand, socializing with "friends who do not live in your neighborhood" appears to be on the increase, a trend that may reflect the growth of workplace-based social connections.). Our discussion of trends in social connectedness and civic engagement has tacitly assumed that all the forms of social capital that we have discussed are themselves coherently correlated across individuals. Every year over the last decade or two, millions more have withdrawn from the affairs of their communities. The trends of the past quarter-century, however, have apparently moved the United States significantly lower in the international rankings of social capital. For example, national environmental organizations (like the Sierra Club) and feminist groups (like the National Organization for Women) grew rapidly [End Page 70] during the 1970s and 1980s and now count hundreds of thousands of dues-paying members. Although this is in part because trends in American life are often regarded as harbingers of social modernization, it is also because America has traditionally been considered unusually "civic" (a reputation that, as we shall later see, has not been entirely unjustified). 3 Although all these regional governments seemed identical on paper, their levels of effectiveness varied dramatically. Similar reductions are apparent in the numbers of volunteers for mainline civic organizations, such as the Boy Scouts (off by 26 percent since 1970) and the Red Cross (off by 61 percent since 1970). Robert Wuthnow, Sharing the Journey: Support Groups and America's New Quest for Community (New York: The Free Press, 1994), 45. ���ގ����v�mg��Dz��a�����os�D���jb����-��`���3�&���w����)M�ڤ��+�(�؋Mýp�I�p��/� Robert D. Putnam is Dillon Professor of International Affairs and director of the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. Such networks facilitate coordination and communication, amplify reputations, and thus allow dilemmas of collective action to be resolved. Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital. In sum, after expanding steadily throughout most of this century, many major civic organizations have experienced a sudden, substantial, and nearly simultaneous decline in membership over the last decade or two. It would seem, then, that net participation by Americans, both in religious services and in church-related groups, has declined modestly (by perhaps a sixth) since the 1960s. An even more dramatic example is the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which grew exponentially from 400,000 card-carrying members in 1960 to 33 million in 1993, becoming (after the Catholic Church) the largest private organization in the world. Far from being paleoindustrial anachronisms, these dense interpersonal and interorganizational networks undergird ultramodern industries, from the high tech of Silicon Valley to the high fashion of Benetton. 42-77. Next, we turn to evidence on membership in (and volunteering for) civic and fraternal organizations. 12. For a variety of reasons, life is easier in a community blessed with a substantial stock of social capital. Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital . For the vast majority of their members, the only act of membership consists in writing a check for dues or perhaps occasionally reading a newsletter. Without controls for educational levels, the trend is not nearly so clear, but the central point is this: more Americans than ever before are in social circumstances that foster associational involvement (higher education, middle age, and so on), but nevertheless aggregate associational membership appears to be stagnant or declining. This same historical pattern applies to those men's fraternal organizations for which comparable data are available--steady increases for the first seven decades of the century, interrupted only by the Great Depression, followed by a collapse in the 1970s and 1980s that has already wiped out most of the postwar expansion and continues apace. Lester M. Salamon, "The Rise of the Nonprofit Sector," Foreign Affairs 73 (July-August 1994): 109-22. Is technology thus driving a wedge between our individual interests and our collective interests? Data from the General Social Survey show a roughly 40-percent decline in reported union membership between 1975 and 1991. Mobility, like frequent re-potting of plants, tends to disrupt root systems, and it takes time for an uprooted individual to put down new roots. These data show some striking patterns. Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital. Nevertheless, I cannot forbear from suggesting some further lines of inquiry. The norms and networks of civic engagement also powerfully affect the performance of representative government. Yet union membership has been falling for nearly four decades, with the steepest decline occurring between 1975 and 1985. It is a question that seems worth exploring more systematically. 5. . See also Gary G. Hamilton and Nicole Woolsey Biggart, "Market, Culture, and Authority: A Comparative Analysis of Management and Organization in the Far East," American Journal of Sociology (Supplement) 94 (1988): S52-S94; and Susan Greenhalgh, "Families and Networks in Taiwan's Economic Development," in Edwin Winckler and Susan Greenhalgh, eds., Contending Approaches to the Political Economy of Taiwan (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Journal of Democracy 6 (1), 65-78. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/DETOC/assoc/bowling.html. Sharpe, 1987), 224-45. 5. The bond between any two members of the Sierra Club is less like the bond between any two members of a gardening club and more like the bond between any two Red Sox fans (or perhaps any two devoted Honda owners): they root for the same team and they share some of the same interests, but they are unaware of each other's existence. By now, virtually all of the explosive growth in union membership that was associated with the New Deal has been erased. How have these complex crosscurrents played out over the last three or four decades in terms of Americans' engagement with organized religion? . What types of organizations and networks most effectively embody--or generate--social capital, in the sense of mutual reciprocity, the resolution of dilemmas of collective action, and the broadening of social identities? What will be the impact, for example, of electronic networks on social capital? 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