We know how important it is to have good neighbors. They’re the people we see every day on our way to work, over the weekend across our garden fence, and for many of us, the people we socialize with in the evenings. For anyone buying a new home, finding somewhere with good neighbors is high up the list of priorities. We help millions of Americans each year to search for the perfect home (and neighbors!), so we like to think we know a little bit about what it takes to make a great neighborhood. This year we launched our First Annual US Neighborhood Survey and asked 2,000 Americans from around the country, as well as 1,000 New Yorkers, what exactly a typical American neighborhood is for them.
US Neighborhoods: The Results
The ‘neighborhood’ is a traditional concept. While in the past, most American neighborhoods consisted of a community of people who all lived and worked together, nowadays, it doesn’t always mean the same thing. Many people telecommute, drive from the suburbs, or live in urban homes, and a more technology driven world means that they don’t always know their neighbors as well as they might have in the past.
Despite this, 18% of the Americans we surveyed said they had spoken to their neighbor that day, and around half (48%) within that week. However, a tenth said they had never even had a conversation with the person who lived next door to them. The trend does appear to be generational, as young Americans are the least likely to have a close relationship with their neighbors.
Table: When Did You Last Talk To Your Neighbor?
How do we communicate?
While 18-24 year olds are less likely to talk to their neighbors face to face, they do communicate in other ways, alluding to the fact that technology has significantly changed the way we interact with each other. In fact, 53% of 18-24 year olds (and 34% of Americans we surveyed overall) communicate with their neighbors via text message, while 51% communicate by phone.
More Americans than ever now have social media (65% were users, as of 2015), and it appears this world of digital communication is now commonplace in neighborhoods. Around 21% of those we surveyed said they keep in touch with friends over social media, but it was 25-34 year olds that were the most likely to use it for talking to neighbors.
Table: How Do You Communicate With Your Neighbors?
Do we still trust each other?
A lack of personal interaction in some neighborhoods may be having a behavioral effect on us. Being able to trust your neighbor is one of the many benefits of living in a close-knit community. If your kids need a babysitter, a package needs to be signed for, or you simply need someone to keep hold of a spare pair of keys, then for many of us, we’re only a short walk away from help.
Unfortunately, many Americans don’t appear to have that feeling of trust. A staggering 23% of those we surveyed said they wouldn’t trust their neighbor alone with their child or their pet.
Perhaps, most surprisingly, is the fact that 40% of Americans wouldn’t trust their neighbor with a house key, which could mean a lot of unhappy residents left outside on the doorstep if they happen to lose their keys.
Table: Which Of These Would You Not Trust Your Neighbor With?
What do they argue about?
We know that even in the calmest of neighborhoods, disputes can happen, but we wanted to find out what exactly it was that Americans were arguing about. Noise was the biggest problem, with around one fifth of Americans having argued about it in the past with their neighbors. Unruly children were also a common complaint, as just over 9% said it had caused friction in the past. Quite encouragingly though, 61% of those we surveyed said they hadn’t really ever had an argument in their neighborhood.
Table: What Have You Argued With Your Neighbors About?
After surveying people across the nation we have found that while “neighborhoods” still exist, they are definitely different than the Leave it to Beaver communities of the ’50s. People are just as likely to text their neighbors with questions or complaints as they are to communicate with them face to face. Also, the days of leaving a spare key under the mat may be fading away. That being said, more than half of the people surveyed have never had a real argument with their neighbor, and most neighbors have spoken in the past month, signs perhaps that the neighborhood spirit is still alive and well in the States.
Do you love your neighborhood? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @HomesDotCom with your thoughts!
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