New Report: “The Belonging Barometer: The State of Belonging in America”

March 7, 2023
Last modified: 
March 7, 2023

WASHINGTON, Mar. 7, 2023 – Over Zero and the Center for Inclusion and Belonging at the American Immigration Council are pleased to announce the launch of a groundbreaking new research tool and accompanying report, “The Belonging Barometer: The State of Belonging in America.”  

The Belonging Barometer was used to assess Americans’ experience of belonging, or lack thereof, across major life settings (e.g., family, friends, the workplace, local community, and the nation). Its measure of belonging includes items related to social connectivity (e.g., emotional connection, inclusion and welcoming), psychological safety (e.g., feeling able to share one’s opinion) and co-creation (e.g, the ability to influence decision-making). Its findings are drawn from a nationally representative sample of 4,905 respondents.

The research found that: 

  • Americans’ scores on the Belonging Barometer are associated with a range of critical outcomes related to health, social cohesion, civic engagement and attitudes towards democracy. 

  • A majority of Americans report non-belonging (a cumulative term that includes people who feel ambiguity about their belonging, or outright exclusion) when it comes to their workplace (64%), the nation (68%), or their local community (74%). 

Additional findings from the report speak encouragingly to specific needs of the moment. For instance, the report findings suggest that belonging and diversity are in a relationship of interdependence—we all gain when we pursue these outcomes as a pair, and this insight will become increasingly important as America grows more diverse.

The report calls attention to belonging as a critical dimension of life that should matter to key stakeholders, leaders, and philanthropists across the country — especially those who seek to improve America’s physical, social, civic, and democratic well-being. It provides a measure of belonging that is robust, accessible, and readily deployable in the service of efforts to strengthen resilience and social cohesion. 

Nichole Argo, Author of The Belonging Barometer and Director of Research and Field Advancement, Over Zero stated,

“This study demonstrates a multitude of ways in which American individuals and communities thrive with belonging, and suffer without it. Americans’ belonging scores are positively associated with outcomes as diverse as general and mental health; job retention and willingness to recommend one’s job; satisfaction with one’s local community and life in America; trust (in neighbors, other residents, local and national government) and civic engagement; and support for democracy. These findings beg the question: How might our daily lives be transformed if our relationships–with each other, in our workplaces, our schools and organizations, and our local communities–were designed with an eye towards belonging? We hope this report puts belonging on the map for thought leaders across diverse sectors in America, and that it provides an additional tool for those already working in this area."  

Kim Serrano, the Director of the Center for Inclusion and Belonging at the American Immigration Council stated,

“The Belonging Barometer brings one aspect of American life into sharp focus—many of us don't feel like we have a place where we truly belong. In fact, this phenomenon of non-belonging is pervasive, with two-thirds of Americans reporting that they feel disconnected from their workplaces, local communities, and the nation at large. But there is a significant silver lining amongst the data: Higher belonging scores are linked to a greater desire to get to know others across difference, whether that difference has to do with race, partisan affiliation or immigration status. This suggests that investing in belonging may help to counter the increasing division and polarization we see in this country. We believe The Belonging Barometer can be a jumping off point for anyone working to understand and deepen the conditions for belonging.” 

Rachel Brown, Executive Director of Over Zero stated, 

"This research confirms something that those deeply enmeshed in belonging work have long understood: the importance of belonging for our society across many facets of life – from health to democracy to social cohesion. It also shows that strengthening belonging in America will require both targeted interventions and structural changes. We hope that the Barometer will prove a valuable tool to those leading and supporting ongoing belonging work and that our findings will spark conversation and engagement from others. Ultimately, we all have a role to play in building belonging."  

View the full report and key findings here

The Belonging Barometer report would not have been possible without generous support from the Walmart Foundation, the Omidyar Network, and an anonymous funder. The findings, conclusions, and recommendations presented in this report are of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of these funders. 


For more information, contact: 

[email protected] or 202-507-7557

Over Zero works across the globe to build societal resilience to identity-based violence and harm. With a focus on the role communication plays in building resilient societies, Over Zero draws on key insights from global practice and interdisciplinary scientific research to develop frameworks and tools that will further equip diverse leaders to take action. Over Zero puts these insights and tools into action through training, coaching, and advising to a broad range of partners, and through long-term, place-based leadership development programs. Over Zero has also produced original research, essays, and toolkits on topics as diverse as communicating around sacred values within the context of US polarization, Americans’ attitudes towards accountability for January 6, and frameworks and priorities for building resilience to political violence in the US. 

The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring. The Council brings together problem solvers and employs four coordinated approaches to advance change—litigation, research, legislative and administrative advocacy, and communications. In January 2022, the Council and New American Economy merged to combine a broad suite of advocacy tools to better expand and protect the rights of immigrants, more fully ensure immigrants’ ability to succeed economically, and help make the communities they settle in more welcoming. Follow the latest Council news and information on and Twitter @immcouncil.  

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
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