Social Capital and Self-Rated Health among Ageing People in Urban and Rural Locations in Finland and in Europe

  • Olli NummelaEmail author
Part of the International Perspectives on Aging book series (Int. Perspect. Aging, volume 11)


The main interest in this chapter concerns the associations between social capital and self-rated health in different living environments (urban, suburban and rural) among ageing people aged 65–84 years. Two social capital components used were a cognitive dimension (trust) and a structural dimension (social participation and voluntary work). The results are based on data from the nationwide survey from Finland (The Health Behaviour and Health among the Finnish Elderly) and the fourth wave of the European Social Survey. The findings show that high trust indicated better self-rated health in Finland, particularly among rural residents. High social participation indicated better self-rated health in all three areas. Without area selection, high social participation and high trust was associated with good self-rated health. Area differences were not found in self-rated health. Among older Europeans, voluntary work and high trust indicated better self-rated health consistently, regardless of the living area. As a whole, those living in urban areas were less healthy, suggesting health challenges related to urban contexts. Enhancing trust, but also voluntary work particularly among the urban Europeans may significantly contribute to social capital and may have health promotion effects. Thus, investing in a trustful environment and influencing social participation can play a significant part in health promotion.


Social Capital Social Participation Civic Engagement Voluntary Work Voluntary Association 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Lifestyle and ParticipationNational Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)HelsinkiFinland

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