Monday, 25 July 2011

17% would not help a neighbour Here are some new data on neighbourliness, from a large US survey conducted for StateFarm, an insurance company. The sample was 17,000 and the project has been overseen by Keith Hampton, so is definitely worthy of attention. To their credit, StateFarm provide more than the usual upbeat press release. Here are some of the things that I noticed on a read-through of the findings. I was most struck by negative responses to the question: 'What would you do to help a neighbor in need?' Seventeen per cent would not help a neighbour in need, and this figure is pretty much consistent across age, gender and urbanicity. So if you thought, say, that older people in rural areas would be nearly universally neighbourly, think again. The survey asked about the channels used where people 'interact with their neighbours on a monthly basis'. It seems to me there's plenty of online contact going on, but the 10 per cent of text interaction is higher than I'd have expected. Almost 40 per cent lend to neighbours and 24 per cent borrow 'at least several times a year' (don't ask me to explain the discrepency, although I note that 7 per cent are disgruntled about neighbours who don't return borrowed items). One other thing. The data suggest that 17 per cent of 18-34 year olds know 'most of their neighbours' by name. I think that's pretty high, at least for under-25s. The graphic seems designed to imply that it isn't. What are our expectations? And here's Keith's take on it all.

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