Frequently asked questions about these datasets

Questions? Please consult the answers to frequently asked questions, below. If you don’t find the answer you need on this page, then email

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Why are social capital stocks calculated only for the years 1990, 1997, 2005, 2009, 2014?

These are the years for which many of the primary data sources are available.

Do you have more recent data than 2014?

No, we don’t. See next question.

When will the social capital index be updated?

The NERCRD has no plans to update the social capital index. 

What primary data sources were used in these calculations?

What do you mean by “business associations”?

For the Business Association category, we use the number of establishments in County Business Patterns with the NAICS code 813910, defined as “establishments primarily engaged in promoting the business interests of their members. These establishments may conduct research on new products and services; develop market statistics; sponsor quality and certification standards; lobby public officials; or publish newsletters, books, or periodicals for distribution to their members.”

Why are data on Alaska and Hawaii missing from some of these datasets?

Earlier data sets (1990, 1997, 2005, and 2009) were developed only for the Continental US due to resource limitations. However, we are delighted to include data for these states in our 2014 data set.

What does a negative number mean in the social capital index?

A negative value (in the sk2014 column of the dataset) indicates that that particular county has a low level of social capital.

How should I cite these data?

If you decide to use these data, please cite the source as follows:

Rupasingha, A., Goetz, S. J., & Freshwater, D. (2006, with updates). The production of social capital in US counties. Journal of Socio-Economics, 35, 83-101. doi:10.1016/j.socec.2005.11.001.

Do you want to know what I’m doing with these data?

We would love to know how you’re using these data! It helps us track the outcomes and impacts of our work. If you are so inclined, drop us a note at to let us know how these data have been useful to you.