Social Capital: Supportive of Bhutanese Refugees’ Integration in the United States

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Successful integration refers to refugees’ ability to participate in their local community, access resources, and become citizens. Social capital, or the resources available through relational networks, has been both theoretically and empirically linked to successful integration. Studies have looked at the relationship between social capital and specific categories of integration (access to health care, employment, and language acquisition) across refugee populations. For the Bhutanese, a large resettled population in the U.S. who culturally emphasize the value relationships, social capital may be especially related to integration indicators across categories. A cross-sectional, multivariate linear regression analysis was performed in Stata/IC 15.1. In analyzing a sample of 244 Bhutanese refugees, results suggest that social capital (bonding, bridging, and linking) is positively associated to overall integration. Based on the results, implications for future research, as well as refugee resettlement policies and programs, are offered.

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The author would like to thank Dr. Elizabeth A. Mellin and Dr. Kim C. Brimhall for their dedicated and indispensable support and guidance. Thank you to Dr. Lichtenstein and Dr. Puma, for developing this important study and contributing so much to the betterment of refugee integration. Thank you to refugee resettlement agencies who work every day to make the world a better place. Thank you to refugees for their courage and bravery in giving a voice to their integration experiences. This research is dedicated to you.

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Correspondence to Justine L. Lewis.

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Lewis, J.L. Social Capital: Supportive of Bhutanese Refugees’ Integration in the United States. Int. Migration & Integration (2020) doi:10.1007/s12134-019-00750-4

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  • Bhutanese refugees
  • Integration
  • Social capital