Social Participation — Overview
Well-being Social Indicators
Whether we live in the crowded bustle of an inner city or in a quieter, less populated rural area, most of us are part of the community in which we live. Social participation refers to people's social involvement and interaction with others. Activities such as volunteering, making donations, participating in sports, and recreational activities are all forms of social participation. While Canadians may differ in why, how, and how much they get involved, most would agree that social participation improves their own and the community's well-being.
Measures of social participation include participation in political activities and participation in social activities. Measures of factors that influence social participation include social networks, sense of belonging, and level of trust.
- 54.6% of Canadians - 58.3% of men and 51.7% of women - reported being involved in at least one political activity in 2002.
- Involvement in at least one social activity group, such as professional associations, or cultural, educational, and hobby organizations, was reported by 61% of Canadians in 2003.
- In 2003, the great majority of Canadians (93.7%) reported having some close friends or family members. However, 6.3% of Canadians reported having no close friend or family member.
- In 2003, the vast majority of Canadians had a "somewhat or very strong" sense of belonging to Canada (88%), to their province (81%), and to their community (70%).
- A little more than half of Canadians (56%) in 2003 believed that others could be trusted. The level of trust was highest among individuals aged 45 to 64 years old (59%) compared with other age categories.
- There is no agreement on how to best define 'community.' For example, and the 2003 General Social Survey on Social Engagement (Statistics Canada, cat. no. 89-598-XIE) leaves the definition open. Generally, the term 'community' refers to the people and institutions that are in proximity to our place of residence. However, it can also include a more global sense of community, where charitable donations to an international charity can benefit people of other countries.
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