Social capital is often defined as being a resource available to individuals and communities founded on networks of mutual support, reciprocity and trust. The associational nature of sport and sporting clubs is sometimes seen as a forum for the creation of social capital by providing opportunities and settings for social interaction, sharing, common interests and enhancing a sense of community. This is recognised as important by a number of state and territory sport and recreation agencies around Australia. The New South Wales government states that its vision is 'of a community that uses sport and recreation to improve its well being' (New South Wales Sport and Recreation 2011), while the Queensland government states 'Queenslanders are increasingly recognising the benefits to their quality of life from participating in recreation and sport' (Queensland Government, Department of Communities, Sport and Recreation Services 2011).
This chapter includes summary information on a number of indicators of social capital together with their association with participation in sport. This information is sourced from the 2010 ABS General Social Survey. Further information about this survey can be found by going to the ABS (2011c) publication General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 4159.0).