Some people are consumed with home improvement projects, others are consumed with neighbors who are “projects.” (If only we could outsource the latter to professionals.) All that aside, in this turbulent season of coronavirus and contentious politics, we’ve decided to focus on what’s good in the neighborhood and find the friendliest neighbors in the nation.
We need neighborly love right now — at a safe distance, of course. In a recent poll of 2,500 Americans, improvenet set out to learn how neighbors are getting along and where in America their bonds are tightest.
The response we heard from respondents is a ray of light in an otherwise dark year. No matter how it may look on social media, neighbors in America tend to like and care for each other — many spend time socializing, and most are quick to offer a helping hand.
If ever there were a test for neighborly bonds, it would be a global pandemic. So many aspects of this crisis have put pressure on neighbor relationships, most notably the fact that we’re now in and around our homes all the time.
It’s All Good in the Neighborhood
Sixty-nine percent of those we surveyed have gotten to know their neighbors better during the pandemic, and 65 percent have made an effort to be more friendly than usual. Even better, nearly seven in 10 Americans say they appreciate their neighbors more than ever, as a result of what’s transpired this year. These data make up a resounding takeaway from our survey: in 2020, Americans have gotten closer to the people they live near, and they are increasingly grateful for those relationships.
Relationships between neighbors go well beyond a smile and wave on the weekend. Nearly one in four people report frequently socializing with their neighbors and 86 percent get together at least occasionally. Fifty-four percent of those we surveyed report they had at least one socially-distanced gathering with neighbors during the pandemic.
Given so many quarantine restrictions, people’s options for socializing in 2020 have been very limited. Many Americans have turned to their neighbors, particularly when friends and family have had to stay away. Sixty-four percent of those we surveyed report they spent more time with neighbors during the pandemic than they did before it, and 57 percent have at times considered neighbors as substitutes for family and friends.
Of course, this was a year of isolation as well. Of those who said the frequency of spending time socializing with their neighbors changed during the pandemic, 53 percent say it increased but 47 percent say it decreased. Additionally, 59 percent of respondents report they have at some point sensed one or more of their neighbors is lonely. About 6 in 10 reached out to offer help.
The Friendliest Neighbors in America
Finally, we wanted to determine which among two dozen of our country’s most populous cities is home to the most and least friendly neighbors (and the most and least helpful neighbors). We’ll let these results speak for themselves.