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Do Neighbors Really Lend Out Cups of Sugar?

10/9/2019, noon | Updated on 10/9/2019, noon
A new survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of neighborhoods.com shines light on what it means to be ...

Do Neighbors Really Lend Out Cups of Sugar?

A new survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of neighborhoods.com shines light on what it means to be a good neighbor. The findings, which are based on responses from more than 1,100 U.S. homeowners, came just in time for National Good Neighbor Day which was celebrated on Sept. 28. While the holiday acknowledges the people that make up a community––those who might be on the other side of the fence (or cubicle), who share the same sidewalk, or who are integrated in the fabric of one’s life––neighborhoods.com unveils what qualities describe a good neighbor, if people actually know their neighbors’ names, and other factors impacting perceived neighborliness.

Asking for Help Can Be Neighborly

Neighbor etiquette traditionally references “a cup of sugar” rule where neighbors feel comfortable borrowing things from each other. However, only half (53%) of homeowners 25 and older who have neighbors are likely to ask their neighbors for a “cup of sugar,” whether literally borrowing something or asking for help from those that live near them.

Being Neighborly Means More Than Lending a Cup of Sugar

When asked what describes a good neighbor, American homeowners aged 25+ cited being “friendly to other neighbors” as the top quality (79%). Other qualities of a good neighbor include someone who “maintains a clean yard” (73%), “maintains a nice house” (62%), “is quiet” (56%), “is friendly to pets” (56%), and “does things for other neighbors” (54%).

Homeowners aged 65+ (66%) are more likely to say “doing things for other neighbors” describes a good neighbor than those aged 25-54 (47%). Few American homeowners aged 25+ say someone who “keeps to themselves” (30%) and “hosts and/or is involved in community events” (14%) makes a good neighbor.

Relationships with Neighbors Are Important

The study found that 93% of American homeowners aged 25+ who have neighbors know all/some of their names. However, nearly three in ten (29%) American homeowners aged 25+ who have neighbors interact with them less than once a month. That’s not to say relationships aren’t valued, though. Fifty-eight percent of American homeowners aged 25+ say the prospect of new relationships or friendships with neighbors was important to them when deciding to buy their home, while 42% considered this unimportant. Age and income could be a factor here. For example, homeowners age 25-34 are more likely to say the prospect of new relationships or friendships with neighbors was important when deciding to buy their home than homeowners 65-and-older (63% vs. 49%).

And homeowners aged 25+ with a household income of $100K+ are more likely to say the prospect of new relationships or friendships with neighbors was important to them when deciding to buy their home than those with household incomes of less than $75K (63% vs. 52%).

“While neighborhoods.com helps people find their perfect neighborhood and home, we recognize that being a good neighbor means more than just being friendly to the person that lives next door. It can be carried out in other ways, like volunteering, giving back to those in need, and being friendly; all of which can help strengthen the larger community we’re all a part of,” said Bill Ness, CEO and founder of neighborhoods.com.