Cultural Capital, New Canaan CT

Cultural Capital

Carson Armstrong



The term cultural capital refers to non-financial social assets that promote social mobility beyond economic means. Examples can include education, intellect, style of speech, dress, or physical appearance. Unfortunately, one of the main cultural aspects is the overwhelming lack of diversity within New Canaan, Connecticut. The term “bubble” comes into mind whenever the town is discussed among peers. The demographic makeup of New Canaan is 95% white, 4% Asian, and only 1.2% African American according to Fact Finder and the 2010 Census(1). Some feel that this culture should be rectified in order to diversify the town and incorporate new races and cultures within the community. The public schools in New Canaan are regarded as some of the top public school districts within the United States. One program that is currently working to reduce the overwhelming percentage of whites in New Canaan public schools is the program known as A Better Chance.


A Better Chance, also known as the ABC program, rewards scholarly intellectuals from inner city schools with New Canaan’s stellar academic curriculum. Those who have shown great success within their own programs are hand selected to engulf themselves within the community while becoming a fulltime resident. A Better Chance is a “study away from home” opportunity for many of these African American, Latino, or Asian students. These teens have escaped the hardships that they faced within their old towns through academic success and hard work. In order to both promote this type of success and continue to diversify New Canaan, those who have been selected for this program reside in the ABC house in town and are completely supported by a volunteer foster family. As a personal witness I have seen this program  run from the inside and can attest that it is effectively changing the current and future lives of these youth. Along with the academic aspects, those selected are fully emerged into the culture that is present. ABC students must participate in a club, organization, or sport each semester in order to help them immerse themselves into our community which touches on much more than academic learning. One could argue that one of the most important aspects of a potential college student, based on their application, is their ability to utilize one’s resources and opportunities to the fullest extent.    


Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). (n.d.). American FactFinder – Results. Retrieved September 30, 2016, from