, Volume 100, Issue 1, pp 17-36
Date: 21 Mar 2010

Subjective Well-Being and Social Capital in Belgian Communities. The Impact of Community Characteristics on Subjective Well-Being Indicators in Belgium

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In this article, we investigate the effect of individual and community level characteristics on subjective well-being in Belgium. Various indicators for subjective well-being are being used in a multilevel analysis of the 2009 SCIF survey (n = 2,080) and the 2006 Belgian ESS sample (n = 1,798). On the individual level, most hypotheses on the determinants of subjective well-being were confirmed. Living with a partner and age were shown to have strong effects, but also social capital indicators had a significant positive effect on subjective well-being. All these effects remained significant controlling for optimism. On the community level, especially unemployment rate had a negative impact on subjective well-being. The analysis further demonstrates that in homogeneous regions, community characteristics have a far weaker impact on subjective well-being indicators than in economically more heterogeneous regions.