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The Geographical Distribution of Nonprofit Human Service Organizations and Neighborhood Characteristics

  • Author(s): Kil, Hyeon Jong
  • Advisor(s): Hasenfeld, Yeheskel
  • et al.
Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between neighborhoods and nonprofit human service organizations (NHSOs) located within these neighborhoods. Specifically, this study focuses on examining how the capacity of NHSOs--the density of NHSOs and the NHSOs' expenditure per capita--in neighborhoods is related to neighborhood characteristics.

Based on a theoretical framework explaining need and supply for NHSOs, this study includes heterogeneity, disadvantaged population, neighborhood wealth, social capital and religious participation as factors related to NHSO capacity. In addition, this study also tests whether a specific segment of the population--child and youth population--is positively related with the capacity of NHSOs primarily serving this specific group of the population.

Combining a population NHSO dataset with two different neighborhood datasets in Los Angeles County, a series of regression analyses were conducted to test the above hypotheses. The key findings indicate that the less heterogeneous in age, more heterogeneous in education, more people in poverty, lower level of combined social support, social cohesion, and informal social control, and more religious residents within a neighborhood, the greater the density of NHSOs. In addition, the less heterogeneous in age, more people in poverty, lower level of combined social support, social cohesion, and informal social control, more residents' neighborhood organization participation, and more religious residents within a neighborhood, the greater the NHSOs' expenditure per capita. Particularly, regarding the NHSOs mainly serving child and youth population, this study also found that the smaller the share of the child and youth population within a neighborhood, the greater the density of child and youth NHSOs, and the greater the child and youth NHSOs' expenditure per capita.

These results suggest that while the theoretical framework can explain a part of the relationships between NHSO capacity and neighborhood characteristics, it cannot clearly demonstrate other associations. Considering that many neighborhood characteristics contain multiple or opposite meanings in terms of NHSO capacity, a more detailed theorization is needed to precisely understand the geographical distribution of NHSOs.

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