Martha Crowley, associate professor of sociology at NC State, is an expert on the most caring cities in the United States, and Durham, NC holds the number 15 spot on the list.
What makes a city qualify as “caring?” Martha believes there are many things communities can do to foster a sense of caring among its members, including acknowledging that caring for another person, be it a child or an adult, is work. “This would foster pride among caregivers,” Martha explains, “which in the absence of remuneration may serve as the only form of external compensation they receive.”
Caring for others has many benefits to society, both in the financial sense and in the resilience that properly cared-for children develop, making them more likely to be successful in life and better able to care for themselves.
Martha’s research also suggests that charitable organizations can be quickly overwhelmed, and that government resources are needed to form a foundation of support to care for community members who need help.
However, self-sufficiency is important to society as well, so in order to design these programs to both give care and promote independence, Martha finds balance in requiring care recipients to partake in community activities. “These encounters would promote development of supportive relationships among caregivers, who might then work together to meet one another’s needs.”
Her research into the qualities of a caring city assists in producing real-life applications that can result in a stronger community where needs are met and citizens are recognized for the work that they put into helping others.
To see the complete list of the most caring cities and read more about Martha’s research, visit WalletHub.
Crowley, Martha, and Richie Bernardo. “2015’s Most Caring Cities in America.” WalletHub. N.p., 2015. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.