Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly vol:41 issue:1 pages:120-144
World Congress of Sociology edition:17 location:Göteborg date:11-17 July 2010
Traditional sociological insights assume that cities are characterized by lower levels of voluntary engagement as it is expected that community size and population density are negatively associated with network and mobilization opportunities. Others, however, argue that cities allow for the formation of different networks that are no longer based on ascribed personal characteristics. We analyze voluntary association membership in Belgium, based on the „Social Cohesion Indicators in Flanders‟ dataset (n=2,080 respondents, sampled in 40 communities). The analysis shows that neither population density nor community size have an effect on scope or intensity of participation in voluntary associations. Only two forms of associations are negatively related to population density. Our results therefore do not support the hypothesis of a rural-urban divide in participation in voluntary associations. We speculate how future research could take into account different sorts of voluntary associations when investigating the rural-urban divide and include other measurements of participation.