the shape of leadership

Few Americans Know Their Neighbors

Just 3 in 10 are acquainted with all or most living nearby

Jesus taught His followers to love their neighbors. Yet a recent report from Pew Research Center reveals that few Americans even know their neighbors.

Just 31 percent of all U.S. adults are acquainted with all or most of their neighbors. Rural dwellers are the most familiar with the people living nearby, with 40 percent knowing all or most of them. By comparison, only 24 percent of urban residents and 28 percent of suburbanites know all or most of their neighbors.

Our own neighborhoods are a great place to start building relationships.

Among those who know at least some of their neighbors, roughly half say they have face-to-face conversations at least once a week. Fewer than 20 percent communicate with neighbors weekly in other ways, such as texting, emailing or talking on the phone. The amount of interaction was about the same across urban, suburban and rural areas.

Many people have at least one neighbor they view as trustworthy. About 6 in 10 rural and suburban dwellers say they have a neighbor they would entrust with a set of keys to their home, compared to 48 percent of those in urban neighborhoods who say the same.

While Jesus’ teaching about neighbors clearly applies to more people than just those physically residing next door, our own neighborhoods are a great place to start building relationships, showing ourselves trustworthy, and demonstrating the love of Christ.

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Imagine the difference that could make in our cities, suburbs and rural communities.


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