Are some towns more lovable than others?

Jan 13, 2011
Are some towns more lovable than others?

(PhysOrg.com) -- Though magazines often create lists of the 'best places to live,' a new study suggests that no community is more or less likely than another to foster a sense of community attachment.

A sociology grad student and his professor at Brigham Young University will publish these surprising findings in a forthcoming issue of the highly rated American Journal of Sociology.

Prior to this research, many believed that certain community traits influenced how attached residents felt. That list of suspected factors included , levels of acquaintanceship, the pace of , population density and habits of the predominant ethnic group.

Instead, the BYU researchers found that none of these dimensions of a locale produce a higher sense of attachment – or at least they don’t anymore.

“I take our findings to be part of the bad news of modernity,” said lead study author Jeremy Flaherty, who is completing a Ph.D. at BYU. “How people interpret their local community has probably changed substantially over the generations.”

While the researchers found that no characteristics of the community played a role, they did find that feelings of attachment develop if a person develops social ties where they live – and that usually takes time.

Case in point: BYU basketball player Jimmer Fredette spent his entire childhood in Glens Falls, N.Y., and Cougar fans witnessed in December’s “Hometown Classic” how strongly the Fredette family feels about Glens Falls.

“Community satisfaction is also related to one’s overall sense of their social standing, their position in the larger society,” said Ralph Brown, a sociology professor at BYU.

To conduct the analysis, Flaherty and Brown made use of a database containing information gathered from 150 households in each of 99 communities in Iowa. The fact that all communities were in the same state is actually beneficial to the research because it keeps regional pride from complicating a community-level question. Flaherty and Brown applied multilevel statistical modeling techniques to understand the forces behind community attachment.

“Putting together this unusual data set with a fairly new statistical method makes this a unique paper within community sociology,” Flaherty said.

Explore further: Study evaluates the influence of college experiences on career outcomes

Related Stories

Modern society made up of all types

Nov 04, 2010

Modern society has an intense interest in classifying people into ‘types’, according to a University of Melbourne Cultural Historian, leading to potentially catastrophic life-changing outcomes for those typed – ...

Is man's best friend also child's best therapist?

Oct 06, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Bonding with a dog sounds like the perfect remedy for children who have lost their trust in people, and BYU undergrad Trisha Markle wants to quantifiably confirm whether the practice works.

Why employees do bad things for companies they love

Jan 11, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Employees who love their company and hustle to please their bosses sound like a recipe for success. But two recent studies co-authored by a BYU business professor found that those two factors ...

Study finds sick kids have fewer friends

Dec 07, 2010

A new study reveals that sick teens are more isolated than other kids, but they do not necessarily realize it and often think their friendships are stronger than they actually are.

Recommended for you

College rankings go under the microscope

9 hours ago

Parents, students and admissions officials have combed through college and university rankings for years. However, education researchers have largely ignored the controversial lists. That's about to change, according to a ...

A call to US educators: Learn from Canada

23 hours ago

As states and the federal government in the U.S. continue to clash on the best ways to improve American education, Canada's Province of Ontario manages successful education reform initiatives that are equal parts cooperation ...

Devices or divisive: Mobile technology in the classroom

Apr 17, 2015

Little is known about how new mobile technologies affect students' development of non-cognitive skills such as empathy, self-control, problem solving, and teamwork. Two Boston College researchers say it's ...

Forming school networks to educate 'the new mainstream'

Apr 17, 2015

As immigration increases the number of non-English speaking "culturally and linguistically diverse" students, schools will need to band together in networks focused on the challenges of educating what has been called "the ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.