<< The Body Politic

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Neighborhood Source Wikipedia CommonsIn December, we covered the release of the “Volunteering and Civic Life in America” report by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC). NCoC is now going more in-depth in exploring the study’s findings, and this month highlighted the very low numbers that discuss social cohesion in neighborhoods.

NCoC reports:

Social cohesion is made up of key indicators of how individuals engage with their neighbors—how often do we talk with one another, help each other out, and how much do we trust the people in our communities? High levels of social cohesion are critical to individual and community well-being.

The data from Volunteering and Civic Life in America shows that these areas are worth exploring and strengthening further across the country. Just 13.3% of Americans said that they talk with their neighbors every day and 30.4% do a few times a week. However, a full 13.5% of Americans report never talking with their neighbors.

When it comes to helping out neighbors, the numbers are startlingly low. When asked if they exchange favors with neighbors, such as watching each other’s children, helping with shopping, or lending garden or house tools, only 14% of Americans do so everyday or a few times a week. A striking 35% of Americans report never engaging in this behavior.

Looking out for one’s neighbors often connects directly to levels of trust in a neighborhood. Of individuals that indicated they trust all or most of their neighbors, approximately 4 in 5 (77%) said they do favors for their neighbors a few times per year or more. In contrast, of individuals that indicate they trust none of their neighbors, only 24% said they do favors for their neighbors. Nationally, 15.6% of Americans report they trust all of their neighbors, 41.1% report they trust most, 34.6% report they trust only some, and 8.7% trust no one in their neighborhood.

Read more at the National Conference on Citizenship—and explore the data for yourself here.