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State Farm® releases new data highlighting generational and cultural differences of neighbors

PR Newswire – Bloomington, Ill., (May 17, 2016)With all of society’s changes, people still value interacting with their neighbors, whether it takes place next door or within a virtual community. However, when it comes to how they connect with each other, several surprising disconnects have emerged.

To understand what’s really happening in the neighborhood, State Farm commissioned a survey by Harris Poll to examine how people across the United States see neighbor relationships. The survey was conducted online among a national sample of 6,051 U.S. adults 18 and over. Findings include specific areas where attitudes and actions do not align. However, with simple actions, these are bridgeable gaps.

Key Findings

A sense of community among neighbors is a constant desire across generations, but the survey findings show Millennials may not know exactly how to connect; while Baby Boomers are generally most satisfied with relationships. Additionally, culture, gender and technology may play critical roles in neighbor relationships. Below are highlights of the findings.

  • Millennials aren’t connecting, but they want to: 40 percent of Millennials wish they were more connected with neighbors, but are least likely to have had a face-to-face interaction in the last month (58 percent among millennials vs. 61 percent to 79 percent among older generations).
  • The neighborhood gathering is organized by a dedicated few: 58 percent of neighbors says it’s important for neighbors to socialize, but only 16 percent of men and 11 percent of women have ever organized a social event. And 42 percent of men/34 percent of women regularly get together for holidays/events with their neighbors.
  • Welcoming is important, but not happening: The majority (75 percent) of neighbors say it is important to welcome new neighbors, but only 41 percent say they were welcomed when they moved in. Only 46 percent actually welcomed someone new into the neighborhood.
  • Everyday helpfulness is valued, but not requested: Though indicated as a good neighbor trait, only 37 percent of respondents reported that they were more likely to ask a neighbor for help with a small project than a friend who does not live in their neighborhood. Although for those age 51 and older helping a neighbor in need is commonly defined as a good neighbor.

Bridging the Neighbor Gap

State Farm enlisted the help of Harriet Cole, an etiquette expert and nationally recognized advice columnist, to help neighbors take the first step to connect.

We make connections all the time. At the office, in the grocery store, on social media, so we should also be able connect with the people we share our buildings, lawns and streets,” said Cole “It all starts with simple actions like saying hello and finding common interests.”

Digital neighbors are emerging: A small, but significant, group of neighbors are relying on digital communication – from using social media to playing video games together. Hispanic Americans are leading the way in online communication, in their neighborhood with 36 percent saying their neighborhood uses social media. And, seven percent of millennial males report playing computer games with a neighbor.

"It's important for neighbors to think of technology as a way to bring their community closer together," said Cole. "Whether using it to organize a neighborhood event or introduce themselves to a new neighbor, digital communication is being adopted by all generations and is a great way to connect and establish common ground."

Shared Values

Though they don't always know it, many neighbors share values, including a mutual desire to be more connected. Good neighbors are universally regarded as being proactive, helpful and respectful across all generations and cultures in the United States. Often, neighbor relationships are nuanced. For example, although neighbors want privacy, they also want neighbors to help watch out for their property and personal safety.

"You may think you have little in common with some of your neighbors," said Cole, "but the truth is most neighbors share some very important values like - helpfulness, respect, trust and safety. We can unite our neighborhoods around these important commonalities and build even stronger neighborhoods."

How to be the Kind of Neighbor You Want

Good Neighbor Tips by Harriette Cole

  • Say hey! All of us—from Millennials to Seniors—want to connect to our neighbors, even though we often don’t act on our instincts. Trust your gut and greet a neighbor today.
  • Make eye contact. Make eye contact the next time you pass a neighbor. You know you want to! Our survey says we want to connect but too often don’t. Don’t let busyness or privacy hold you back.
  • Tweet Me, Text Me. Seniors and Millennials use technology regularly to connect with friends and family. Now is the perfect time to Tweet, text, or otherwise engage social media to connect to the people closest to you—your neighbors.
  • Can you spare a cup of sugar? Instead of calling on friends or family who live far away for that proverbial cup of sugar, ask your neighbor. They can’t wait to give it to you! Literally, most neighbors say they welcome the opportunity to support the family next door.
  • Party On! Socializing with neighbors is a high priority for many of us, including 71% of Millennials, 81% of Seniors, 66% of African Americans, and 62% of Hispanics. But nobody’s putting one together – so get out there and throw a bash your neighbors can’t turn down.
  • Give equal credit. You might think women are your neighborhood’s event planners, but actually men do more of the organizing.
  • Trust your instincts, say hello. Because privacy is a high priority for most people in today’s busy society, many resist the urge to reach out to the people in their communities. Our research says, go on and do it! Most neighbors actually do want to connect.
  • Texting is the new knocking. If you don’t want to knock on your neighbor’s door for fear of invading their privacy, try texting first. And in turn, let your neighbors know what’s the best way to get ahold of you.
  • Be the first to welcome newcomers. Most people polled said they would appreciate being welcomed when they move into a neighborhood; however, most people weren’t. Bake that pie (or buy it at the store) and show up when new neighbors move in.
  • Look out for one another. Let your neighbor have your back! 69% of our survey participants say they take looking out for their neighbors as a personal responsibility. Next time a neighbor is out of town, keep an eye on their home.
  • Be a good citizen. No matter what your political stance, being involved is key – get out and vote and make it neighborly. Try ride sharing to the polls. Or to make voting a little easier for neighbors with young children, offer to watch the kids for an hour. Engage in the civic conversation in your community, and remember to respect different opinions and keep an open mind.

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