Date Published 25 October 2013
Research from Churchill Home Insurance highlights how we isolate ourselves from our closest neighbours, with 17% of people admitting they have not spoken to any of their neighbours in over a month, rising to three in ten (29%) of 18-34s.
Despite often living just a few meters away, over half (51%) of those with neighbours admit they cannot recall their first names and 70% are unaware of their full names.
The findings highlight a lack of familiarity for those living close to us, as 36% say they would not even recognise their neighbours in person. Almost three quarters (70%) did not know what their next door neighbours did for a living, 61% were unable to recall how long their neighbours have been in residence and over half (53%) had no knowledge of whether their neighbours rented or owned their homes. A further 44% were unable to recall whether their neighbours have children and 47% said the same about pets.
Martin Scott, head of Churchill home insurance, said: `Relationships with our neighbours have changed significantly over the years because the way we live, work and socialise has evolved. We move homes more frequently, spend a lot less time communicating face to face and are more cautious about who we welcome into our homes. As a result, we know very little about our neighbours, as we all get on with our own busy lives.
`The lack of trust and familiarity between neighbours does have implications. People may be less willing and less able to watch out for each other – realising there is a stranger on a neighbour`s property is very difficult if we cannot recognise the person who lives there. Home insurance is vital should the worst happen, however, maintaining a good relationship with those we live closest to can make our communities a safer and more sociable place to live.`
Highlighting a stark absence in neighbourhood friendships, Churchill`s research reveals that less than a third (32%) of us would call our neighbours friends, falling to 18% for those aged 18-34. In fact, 13% of people say they distrust, dislike or deliberately avoid their next door neighbours. For younger residents, this figure increases to 20%.
While the research indicates that younger people are significantly more isolated from those they share a street or building with, they are also more likely to have scoured social networking sites and search engines to find information about their neighbours. On average, 8% of all UK adults admit to having done this, compared to 15% of those aged 18-34.