Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 745–759 | Cite as

Country-Level Bonding, Bridging, and Linking Social Capital and Immigrants’ Life Satisfaction

  • Yoosun ChuEmail author
  • Ce Shen
  • Jie Yang


This cross-national study examines the contextual effects of country-level social capital on immigrants’ life-satisfaction in host societies. Country-level social capital was constructed by bonding, bridging, and linking according to descriptions by Szreter and Woolcock (2004). We conducted a two-level regression analysis using 3208 immigrants nested within 52 countries included in the World Values Survey Wave 6. Immigrants had a lower level of life satisfaction in host countries with a higher bonding social capital (inward-looking and homogeneous). The effect of age on life satisfaction also varied according to country-level bonding social capital and age-groups. In addition to the effects of country-level social capital, our study found that immigrants had a higher level of life satisfaction in countries with a higher gross national income (GNI) per capita and a lower percentage of immigrants. Consistently with the previous studies, our study also found that immigrants’ key socio-demographics (subjective health, age, gender, marital status, and income level) were significantly associated with immigrants’ life satisfaction. Findings suggest that not only immigrants’ individual characteristics but also the social capital of host countries - in particular, the bonding social capital - play a significant role in immigrants’ life satisfaction.


Immigrants Life satisfaction Country-level social capital 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors whose names are listed immediately below certify that they have NO affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Boston College School of Social WorkChestnut HillUSA

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