Carey Hinds, Vice President for Program
Emily Jones Rushing, Communications Officer
The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham
2027 First Avenue No., Suite 410
Birmingham, AL 35203
Hinds -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Rushing -- email@example.com
General Office e-mail -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Foundation Center folder: www.fdncenter.org/grantmaker/birmingham
Region 2020: www.region2020.org
Nonprofit Resource Center of Alabama: www.nonprofit-al.org
University of Alabama at Birmingham: www.uab.edu
Operation New Birmingham: www.onb.org
Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce: www.birminghamchamber.org
and Shelby Counties
U.S. Census and Claritas Inc.
U.S. Census and Claritas Inc.
35-44 16% (130,524)
45-64 23% (185,966)
U.S. Census and Claritas Inc.
Birmingham Metropolitan statistical area consists of four (4) counties:
Jefferson, Shelby, Blount and St. Clair, located in a region of hills
and valleys that crosses the north central part of Alabama within the
foothills of the Appalachian Mountain range. The Community Foundation
of Greater Birmingham includes these four counties, plus Walker County,
in the area it has served since 1949. Jefferson and Shelby counties were
chosen for this study because they represent the major concentration of
urbanized area within the MSA, as well as a mix of urban and rural areas.
These two counties
contain 61 jurisdictions and census designated places (35 cities and 8
Census Designated Places in Jefferson, 17 cities and 1 Census Designated
Place in Shelby). Jefferson is the central county in the MSA, containing
Birmingham, the largest city in the metropolitan area and in the state.
Located here are the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Alabama Ballet, the
Birmingham Botanical Gardens and the Birmingham Zoo, the largest zoo in
a nine-state area. The city of Birmingham had a population of 246,903
in 2000, decreasing by 7 percent during the prior decade. A weekday workforce
of some 80,000 people is employed in the city center, which also welcomes
thousands of visitors each year to a series of music and arts festivals
in its parks. The tree-lined downtown includes a world-class hands-on
museum and IMAX theater at the McWane Center; the well-respected Birmingham
Museum of Art, the largest municipal art museum in the Southeast, as well
as the popular Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Birmingham also contains
the largest employer in the metropolitan area — the University of Alabama
at Birmingham with its world-renowned medical center and research facilities.
Jefferson County contains some of the MSA’s oldest suburbs, Shelby County
has been the area of greatest suburban expansion. Shelby was the fastest
growing county in Alabama during the decade of the 1990s, growing by more
than 51%, while Jefferson County grew by less than 1%. The median household
income in Jefferson County was $39,824 in 2000, while the median household
income in Shelby County was $53,881 for the same period. Despite a business
heritage strong in manufacturing, 64% of the labor force in Jefferson
and Shelby counties today is engaged in managerial, professional, technical,
sales and administrative support, while 1% is engaged in farming, forestry
and fishing. Only 23% are engaged in distinctively blue collar tasks such
as laborers, crafts, precision machinery, fabrication and repair.
plans for the use of Social Capital Benchmark Survey results:
- Co-sponsoring visit
of Robert Putnam, who will be the keynote speaker at the Nonprofit Resource
Center of Alabama Summit on April 26. This will be another opportunity
to distribute executive summaries of the SCBS results to leaders in
nonprofit groups from throughout the state. Gov. Don Siegelman also
will be making a presentation at the Summit and we expect him to be
very interested in Putnam’s presentation about social capital and the
- Increasing use
of social capital concepts, enhanced by this data, in grantmaking decisions.
- Sharing data with
other funders, social service and faith-based organizations, as well
as academic institutions. We expect particular interest in survey results
from Region 2020, a citizen-driven visioning process which is now working
on action plans for a 12-county area that includes Jefferson and Shelby
counties, which were surveyed as part of the Social Capital Benchmark
· The Birmingham Metro sample consists of 478 households from Jefferson
and Shelby counties (Analysis showed that 22 respondents from the original
500 reported in the sample did not actually live in these two counties).
· The response rate was 32 percent, with a refusal rate of 48 percent.
· The sample was representative of the racial and educational characteristics
of Jefferson and Shelby, slightly over representing the Hispanic population
(3 percent in sample v. <1 percent from US Census) and under representing
the African American (29.4 percent v. 32 percent) and white (63 percent
v. 66 percent) subpopulations.
· The Birmingham metropolitan area that includes Jefferson and
Shelby counties, from which this sample was taken, has a sizable African
American population, so the sample consists of 2.5 times the percentage
of blacks in the Social Capital sample of 30,000 people that includes
both community and national survey respondents.
· The Birmingham Metro sample is characterized by its religiosity,
with 81 percent of the sample reporting a membership in a church or other
religious institution compared to 65 percent nationally. Only 5 percent
of the Birmingham Metro sample describes religion as unimportant, compared
to 15 percent nationally. In the local sample, 45 percent contribute more
than $500 annually to religious organizations compared to 34 percent in
the national sample.
· The Birmingham Metro sample is less knowledgeable politically
than the national sample. Only 9 percent of the local sample could name
both Alabama senators, compared to 18 percent nationally.
· When using the community quotient norms (scores to compare a
community's performance in relation to a result that might be expected
based on the urbanicity, ethnicity, levels of education and age distribution
within a sample area) to assess social capital scores, the Birmingham
Metro sample behaves as expected on aspects of social capital such as
general trust, "schmoozing" (developing social connections through
informal connections) and charity. The sample's scores are unusually high
in faith-based social capital, "macher" (development of social
connections through formal memberships and associations) and overall level
of formal group involvement (both the "secular" score and the
score including religious activity). The Birmingham Metro sample scores
lower than the Community Quotient Norm on measures of diversity of friendships,
political activism and racial trust.
· The Birmingham Metro sample is one of eight Southern communities
where local surveys were conducted. (See website for more details on the
areas surveyed.) These include: Atlanta Metro (including DeKalb, Fulton,
Cobb, Rockdale and Henry counties); Baton Rouge, La. (including East Baton
Rouge Parish); Charlotte, N.C., including 11 counties in North Carolina
and three in South Carolina; East Tennessee, including 22 counties; Greensboro
and Guildford County, N.C.; Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, N.C., and Kanawha
Valley, W.V. (including three counties. Within this group, the Birmingham
Metro sample has the highest scores on general social trust, formal group
involvement and faith-based social capital. It has the lowest score for
diversity of friendships, indicating that these forms of social capital
fail to bridge ethnic, racial and class boundaries.
and social capital
· Overall, the education of the respondent is the best predictor
of individual social capital in the Birmingham sample.
· Educational level is significantly related to social and racial
trust, formal group participation (including and excluding church), civic
participation, and diversity of friendships.
· Education is unrelated to faith-based social capital and schmoozing.
· Race is also linked to various aspects of social capital. For
example, whites have higher levels of social and racial trust, more diverse
friendships, and levels of schmoozing.
· Generally speaking, social capital measures do not vary significantly
between those living in the city of Birmingham and other parts of Jefferson
and Shelby counties. The only exception is in terms of civic participation,
which is higher for respondents within the city limits of Birmingham.
· Women are more likely to volunteer and have higher levels of
faith-based social capital.
· The youngest age category (18-34) ranked high as "schmoozers"
(involving informal social interaction and connectedness), but otherwise
generally exhibit lower social capital. They volunteer less often, have
fewer formal group involvements, less civic participation, social trust,
and faith-based social capital. The question is whether this age effect
will continue to be true as the "generation" moves into a different
time of life.
Like the national comparison sample of 3,000 households, the Birmingham
Metro sample shows strong links between social capital and personal well-being.
· Social trust and racial trust are very significant predictors
of personal happiness, health and assessments of quality of life in the
· People who give generously (both to church and charities) are
happier, healthier, feel people can be trusted and are more likely to
describe the local quality of life as excellent or good.
· Formal group involvement has a positive relationship to happiness
and assessment of quality of life.
· Persons with more diverse friendships are happier, healthier,
feel people can be trusted and evaluate the local quality of life as good
· Schmoozing has no connection with well-being indicators
The links between
various types of social capital
As expected, Birmingham Metro residents with higher faith-based social
capital and greater formal group involvements exhibit deeper engagement
and commitment in other aspects of social capital, such as.
· Greater social and racial trust
· Greater monetary contributions
· Greater diversity of friends
· More volunteering
· Greater political activity