According to our study results, only 33% of Americans regard their neighbors to be friends or close friends, while 66% consider their neighbors to be strangers or acquaintances. Online neighborhood organizations are used by 27% of Americans. The Midwest region's residents are the most inclined to be friendly with their neighbors. San Francisco and Los Angeles have the least friendly attitudes toward their neighbors.
These findings are based on a nationally representative online survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among 1,500 American adults from June 5-12, 2014. The sample includes an equal number of men and women between the ages of 18 and 99. To determine how much influence your age has on how you view neighbors, we also asked respondents what percentage of Americans they think are over 50, 25-49, 18-24, and 65 and older. We will use these responses to create age categories for our analysis: 75+; 55-74; 35-54; 18-34.
We will also look at education. We expect that higher educated individuals will have more favorable views of neighbors because they need them more. Also, wealthier individuals can afford to be friendlier because they do not need to worry about their neighbors' opinions of them.
Finally, we want to know if there is a difference in views regarding neighbors between rural and urban areas.
A majority of Americans who know their neighbors (58%) say they never have parties or get-togethers with them, though 28% say they do so less than once a month and 14% say they have get-togethers with their neighbors at least once a month. How often people interact with their neighbors does not vary much across different types of communities. In small towns, where most people know one another, this number is around 60%. In large cities, where many people live alone, this number falls to about 40%.
When it comes to social interactions beyond your own doorstep, most Americans report that they talk with their neighbors at least once a week. However, fewer than half say they visit with them over lunch or dinner every day or almost daily. When it comes to socializing with ones neighbor, not all communities are created equal. In smaller towns where everyone knows everyone else, talking with neighbors tends to be more common. By contrast, in larger cities where many people live alone, visiting with neighbors is less common.
In addition, younger adults are likelier than older adults to have party or get-togethers with their neighbors. For example, 64% of millennials who know their neighbors say they go out for drinks or a meal at least once a year, as do 58% of gen Xers and 47% of baby boomers. Only 36% of those age 55 and older say the same.
In 2018, the Pew Research Center conducted a poll on numerous facets of community life in the United States, including neighborly ties. With renewed interest in Rogers and his program, here are five findings from the Center's poll about how Americans engage with their neighbors:
Nearly all U.S. adults (95%) say they know at least one person who lives in their neighborhood, including nearly half (47%) who say they know five or more people there.
Women are more likely than men to say they know someone living in their neighborhood (96% vs. 92%). Similar differences by gender exist for other aspects of community life examined in the survey.
Black Americans are most likely to say they know someone living in their neighborhood (99%), followed by white Americans (95%). Hispanic Americans are less likely than whites or blacks to say they know someone living in their neighborhood (88%).
People who say they know someone living in their neighborhood are more likely than those who do not know anyone there to say that it is important for residents to get involved with their community (92% vs. 84%). They also are more likely to report having a friendly conversation with their neighbor within the last year (55% vs. 42%).
Most Americans *do* talk to their neighbors; they may or may not do so frequently, but it's actually very typical in most situations to have some degree of interaction with one's neighbors, even if it's only superficial contact by your cultural standards. People tend to keep more intimate relationships closer to home, but still many feel comfortable sharing thoughts and opinions with those nearby.
In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost everyone you meet on a daily basis is your neighbor in some sense, whether they know it or not. While some neighborhoods are likely more social than others, research has shown that social interactions occur everywhere, even in large cities, at least half of the time.
Even if they don't interact socially, every person you meet is still making observations about you and your behavior, whether you know it or not. Your neighbors are watching you, evaluating your character, and forming opinions based on what they see - good or bad - and this affects how they act toward you.
For example, if you happen to be walking down the street when someone you don't know well comes up to you and asks for directions, there's a good chance you'll give them advice or help them out somehow. This person might not ever call you again, but they didn't exactly leave you alone either!