The influx of Hispanic immigrants into rural areas of the United States has created demographic, economic, and social change within communities. Sense of community, a psychological construct that includes membership, influence, fulfilment of needs, and a shared emotional connection between community members, is a vital element in assessing the integration of immigrants into a community. This study used a sequential explanatory mixed methods design to describe and examine sense of community, community participation, and life satisfaction among Hispanic immigrants from two communities in rural Nebraska (N = 180 survey participants; N = 53 focus groups participants). The results indicated that participants felt a sense of community. Sense of community was significantly positively correlated with community participation, r = 0.29, p < 0.01, and life satisfaction, r = 0.31, p < 0.01. Participants identified that being part of the community was more than just sharing a geographic space. It encompassed a feeling of belonging, unity, and acceptance as well as a willingness to help others and participate. Respondents had participated in their communities by volunteering, donating to community organizations, talking to others about community issues, and participating in associations. The vast majority of participants were satisfied with their lives. Using linear regression, sense of community was found to be a significant predictor of both community participation, R2 = 0.37, F(6, 168) = 16.45, p = 0.000, and life satisfaction, R2 = 0.13, F(6, 168) = 4.00, p = 0.001. Implications of improving social well-being among rural Hispanic immigrants in the United States are discussed.
- Community development
- Immigrant integration
- Sense of community
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health