Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Sociology


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

John J. Green

Second Advisor

Albert B. Nylander

Third Advisor

Anne Cafer

Relational Format



Across the United States, citizens’ communities provide vastly different access to critical resources that can improve their personal, familial, and collective well-being. Yet, little is known about the organization of the physical and organizational resource infrastructure of these communities, limiting the ability of policymakers, researchers, and citizens to address uneven development, inequality, and poverty. Drawing on 2015 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) data, this research study creates a tool for measuring the nonprofit and private organizational and physical resource environment of communities at the county-level by aggregating establishment counts for 20 indicators into six standardized thematic dimensions to create the “nonprofit and private sector organizational and physical capital establishments” index (NPOPCE). Along with individual scores for six dimensions, an overall standardized score was created for each county. This project finds that this index corresponds with general rankings of well-being and provides a more nuanced analytic tool for county analysis of organizational and physical capital. The analytical application of each of these indices, the six individual and single overall, were tested by conducting Spearman’s Rho correlation tests with four comoutcome-based measures of poverty from the American Community Survey 2016 five-year estimates. As a whole, the indices show a strong general relationship with the poverty measures, indicating the overall index’s usefulness as a supplement to future multivariate poverty analysis.



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