Love Thy Neighbor? Most Americans Don’t Know Next-Door Names

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — When it comes to being a good Samaritan, most of us are just as likely to poke our neighbors on Facebook as we are to lend a helping hand — that is, when we’re not shaking our fist at them.

A new study commissioned by State Farm finds that while 83 percent of Americans say they are willing to help a neighbor in need, a whopping 60 percent of us have complaints about our neighbors.

Topping the list of complaints: out-of-control pets or kids, noise, and poorly maintained property.

Still, there’s evidence that the neighborly spirit often depicted in TV shows from the mid-to-late 1900’s is still alive and well in the U.S.

As many as 45 percent of people surveyed indicated they would help a neighbor look for a job or cook meals for them, and 32 percent said they would offer to help out with babysitting to cut down on childcare costs.

But when it comes to digging into their own pockets, only 15 percent said they would lend a neighbor money, and a paltry 10 percent would let a neighbor temporarily live with them.

Sociologist Keith Hampton told KNX 1070 the findings are actually surprisingly optimistic.

“The historical data suggests that over the last 30 to 50 years, neighboring in America has declined, although the current study [is] suggesting that neighboring may be an important part of the everyday support people get,” said Hampton.

The study also found that only 25 percent of us know our neighbors’ names — and 8 percent don’t know any of them at all.

Hampton sees the emergence of only social networking enhancing — and not replacing — the level of personal contact we share with those around us.

“While we often blame the younger generation for loss of local interaction, it turns out they’re really leading the way in terms of interacting online with their local neighbors, possibly providing a new entryway into a lifestyle that historically never really happened until you were older and married with children,” he said.

71 percent of those surveyed say they interact with their neighbors face to face on a monthly basis. But there were also double-digit responses for email, social networking and texting our neighbors as well.

  • Jane Earle

    what is to love ? I live in a senior adult community in VN CA – the church (?) a few feet in front of our building is rented out each weekend for LOUD paties, weddings – holy roller meetings etc, from sat 4pm till midnight – and Sundays as well – the noise is obnoxious – the owners do not care as they do not want to lose the rental of the church – the priest (???) does not care as he does not want to lose he $$$$ he is making for the rental of the hall,- the police colud not care less – And certainly the people attending are not about to let anyone put a damper on their party – so, unable to afford to miove – we just become victims – No love thy neighbor, no way !

    • bd mcgee

      Hey dorkweed, check your spelling. Also, try moving.

      • derp

        hey moron, try reading before commenting! he can’t afford it. you complain about his spelling when clearly you have trouble with simple understanding….

      • 123

        look at the bottom of the comment stupid (cant afford to move)

  • Walter

    It must suck to be poor !!!

    • derp

      or you!

  • bill burns

    If you live next to coloreds ,you can’t pronounce their names. LeBraedeShawnesemyocopa .

    • mike

      true lol

  • botti

    Jolly green giant neighbor walk round over my head with mountain boots on..sound like it anyway..No respect…

  • BD McGee

    hey derp, you are a scholar.
    Jane is probably female so why do you refer to her as a “he”.
    And idiot, I was being facetious (look it up). Yes I did read the article. Maybe you should join Jane and go bury your empty head in the sand.

    • derp

      nope, you were just being nasty.. but tell yourself whatever you need to get through the day! what you said wasn’t amusing at all. it just looked ignorant. name-calling? grammar police? dumb comments about moving when poster said they can’t afford it? not, that’s not facetious. that’s stupid.

      but hey, you used big word so i guess you is purdy smart! her her

      cograts on that!

      • derp is a pole-smoker

        How sad to be you. Good luck with that, loser.

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