Income and Area Effects on Voluntary Association Membership in Canada

Laura Jane Duncan


Applying multi-level modelling techniques to 2003 Canadian General Social Survey and 2001 Census Profile data , this study investigates the influence of individual income, contextual poverty and income inequality on voluntary association membership in Canada. Both individual and contextual effects on membership are uncovered, in addition to a significant cross-level interaction between individual income and area level income inequality. As individual income increases so do the odds of voluntary association membership, an effect that is fairly consistent between areas. Increases in area level poverty are associated with decreases in the odds of membership. While no main effect is found for area level income inequality, cross-level interactions indicate that the relationship between individual income and membership is moderated by area income inequality. The study findings support claims about the negative social effects of individual and contextual economic disadvantage and confirms the importance of examining contextual influences on social outcomes.


Voluntary assocation membership; engagement; contextual effects; poverty; income inequality

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