LONDON — So much for being neighborly. A significant number of residents seem to refrain from social interaction with their immediate neighbors, a new survey finds.
This finding was one of many by researchers at Aviva, a British insurance firm, who interviewed 2,000 adults across the United Kingdom in June, as part of a larger study examining home security during the summer season.
The researchers found that the average adult in the UK is only on a first-name basis with four of their neighboring households, and only about a quarter of individuals considered themselves “close friends” with a nearby resident.
Surprisingly, one in eight respondents said that they didn’t know the names of any of their close neighbors, a figure that doubled among individuals aged 16 to 24.
Although it would seem that many UK residents are distant from those in their community, this didn’t necessarily affect their level of trust in others: 73 percent expressed confidence in a neighbor accepting a delivery for them.
In addition, 40 percent would allow a neighbor to watch over their pets, 38 percent would feel comfortable giving a neighbor a set of their keys, and 36 percent would entrust a neighbor with watching over their residence while away.
As for the study’s key finding— that many neighbors seemingly don’t know, nor care to know, each other— there may be an explanation for its incidence.
“People are more mobile than in previous generations, so it’s easier to see friends and family who don’t live nearby,” says Adam Beckett, Aviva’s Propositions Director, in a company release. “This, combined with the pace of modern life, can mean that we don’t always know the people who live closest to us.”
Still, the researchers say that there are numerous benefits to getting to know one’s neighbors, which include an increase in feelings of emotional support.
If nothing else, knowing that your neighbors will have your back when you’re on errands or vacation brings peace of mind.
As for methodology, the study pulled its results from an online survey administered by a third-party.