Good News: Most Neighbors Like Each Other

“Good fences make good neighbors,” according to the poet Robert Frost, but in fact, most Americans are happy with their neighbors — fence or no fence.Homes in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood

A recent survey by the real estate classified ads website Trulia found that two-thirds of all Americans like their neighbors. And familiarity breeds contentment: 80 percent of people who know their neighbors’ names generally like them.

A close look at the numbers also shows a significant variance between homeowners and renters. Homeowners are more likely than renters to be agreeable to their neighbors  — 74 percent versus 58 percent — and to know their neighbors’ names: 61 percent versus 39 percent.

Here in the West we are the least likely to know our neighbors’ names — 49 percent, compared with 51 percent for residents in the Northeast and South, and 60 percent in the Midwest — but we’re not unfriendly. In fact, residents in the 13 Western states rank the highest for liking their neighbors: 72 percent, compared with 67 percent in the Northeast and Midwest, and 65 percent in the South.

Comparing suburban residents with city dwellers, folks in the suburbs are much more likely to know their neighbors’ names — 54 percent versus 46 percent — but only slightly more friendly: 68 percent versus 65 percent.

However, in most cases, suburban residents tend to be choosier about their neighbors than their city-based counterparts. For instance, while 38 percent of suburbanites feel that it is important that their neighbors are homeowners, only 29 percent of city dwellers express the same concern. And while 34 percent of suburban residents would prefer that their neighbors speak the same language, just 27 percent of urban residents concur.

Only 5 percent or respondents say they actively dislike their neighbors, and 61 percent say they would resolve a disagreement by trying to know a neighbor. But watch out for the 4 percent who claim they would get into a fight or an argument!

(Photo: Flickr/Rbotman01)

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