- Families engage in informal exchanges within their communities, and often give help more than they receive it. On average over families report social capital summing to an estimated $4,000 worth of activity and support over two years, raising average monthly incomes by about 7%.
- Families receive twice as much help and support from their communities than from government subsidies. Households often report receiving more than twice as much help from their community, in the form of social capital, than from subsidies.
- Household social capital generally increases over time. On average the frequency of social capital exchanges nearly doubles over two years. This may be driven by increased connection with others, or by increased activity by the family, or may be a more accurate reflection of community exchanges that were already occurring.
- Low-income families are effective at placing others in jobs. About half of families responding to an employment survey reported finding their jobs through friends or family.
- Households with high levels of social capital are also showing strong progress on their goals. Families with more social capital tend to set more goals, complete more of their goals, and do so faster compared to other households.
The monthly journals families submit to FII cover a wide range of data points, including social capital exchanges like watching one anther’s children, cooking for each other, etc. While these exchanges are not monetized, they have real economic value. We estimate that value by not only asking FII members to catalog the social capital they have given and received over the course of the month, but what the dollar value of those exchanges would be had they been monetized.
In several sections of this report, we look at the subset of families that have been with FII for two years. These households have completed their two year commitment with FII. Two years of journals gives us enough data to get a more complete picture of a family over time, and we generally limit our analysis of outcomes and comparison to this group.
Giving and Receiving Support
Overall, we find our family partners are generally giving support and assistance to others in their community more than they receive support.
Help Finding a Job
As part of a recently launched two year longitudinal study on work situations, we’ve asked a subset of FII families some additional questions about their employment and businesses. One question asked survey takers how they found their most recent job and nearly half said through a friend or family member. Very few reported using an agency or other sort of service, with the vast majority of other responses representing individuals finding jobs through their own initiative.