Since 2013, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has in numerous studies repeatedly examined the state of social cohesion, while seeking to determine which factors influence it. These efforts have included studies with a cross-national comparative focus, at the national level in Germany and in selected individual cities. The present study focuses for the first time on a single federal German state. Its guiding assumption, derived from the results of previous studies, was that the most visible signs of cohesion can be found at the local level, in people’s daily lives – and that this is where it can be strengthened. Political interventions intended to enhance cohesion must therefore focus on that level. However, local measures must be used to strengthen cohesion throughout society as a whole, rather than operating solely within the local context. This implies the use of systematic interventions that each have a local impact, but whose influence leads to a nationwide improvement in living conditions and cohesion. A variety of starting points are conceivable for efforts to strengthen cohesion at the local level. Based both on past studies and the results of the present study, it appears that the most promising approaches come from the field of social policy – measures that serve to give various population groups greater opportunity to participate within social life.
This is the English summary. The full study is available only in German: Gesellschaftlicher Zusammenhalt in Baden-Württemberg.