Sense of Belonging
Sense of belonging measures the percentage of people (ages 12+) who say that they have a ‘very strong’ or ‘somewhat strong’ sense of belonging to their community.
Why This Matters
Sense of belonging is “concerned with [an individual’s] perception of self as integrated within an interpersonal system (Choenarom, Williams and Hagerty, 2005, p. 20).” According to Human Resources and Skill Development Canada, sense of belonging to a country, region and local community can influence an individual’s sense of identity and their extent of participation within a community or society, and is generally associated with better physical and mental health (HRSDC, 2013). In turn, a strong sense of belonging also contributes to the wellbeing of a community or society by improving the quality of interactions between and among individuals and social institutions. In terms of mental health, sense of belonging is shown to influence the ability of an individual to deal with stress in his life and to avoid depression or other mental disorders when confronted with high amounts of stress (Choenarom, Williams and Hagerty, 2005, p. 20). Thus sense of belonging may also be linked to economic productivity by providing a coping mechanism to deal with challenging situations.
Measurement and Limitations
Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey measures responses to the survey question “How would you describe your sense of belonging to your local community? Would you say it is very strong, somewhat strong, somewhat weak, or very weak?” The CCHS is conducted annually, and is designed to produce results at the health region level.
Data are reported for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA). It should be noted that 2012 data use new boundaries from previous years’ data-the former Churchill Regional Health Authority (RHA) has been integrated into the WRHA. The Churchill RHA has a very small population (approximately 1,000 individuals), but may have affected the figures somewhat.
Statistics Canada (n.d.) CANSIM Table 105-0509. Retrieved from: http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?Lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=1050509&paSer=&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=-1&tabMode=dataTable&csid=
Data is updated on Peg as it becomes available from the data providers.
Human Resources and Skill Development Canada (HRSDC). 2013. Indicators of Wellbeing in Canada. Social Participation – Sense of Belonging. Retrieved from: http://www4.hrsdc.gc.ca/[email protected]?iid=71
Margot Shields. 2008. Community belonging and self-perceived health. Statistics Canada. Retrieved from: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2008002/article/10552-eng.pdf
Sense of Belonging in the Sustainable Development Goals
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16. Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies
Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.