“Everybody Needs Good Neighbours” - Nationwide survey reveals

Over half of us see our neighbours as close friends

7 in 10 say knowing our neighbours makes us feel happier and more secure

4 in 10 are chummier with neighbours now than before the pandemic

Neighbours can make or break how you feel about where you live. This was one of the primary findings from the latest survey from Aviva Insurance Ireland, one of Ireland’s leading insurers. The survey, conducted by iReach of over 1,200 people nationwide revealed that improved relationships with our neighbours has been a positive consequence of the pandemic, while more than 7 in 10 people feel that knowing their neighbours makes us happier, more secure and promotes a greater sense of community.

It’s interesting to see that even before the pandemic hit and forced us to spend probably more time than ever before in our neighbourhood, over half of respondents said they saw their neighbours as close friends (51%), with more men (54%) than women (47%) likely to feel this way. Those aged 55+ were most likely to class their neighbours as good friends (64%), which is easy to understand given that many of these people will have lived in the same place for 20, 30, or perhaps even 40+ years.

Billy Shannon, Aviva Insurance Ireland

But regardless of how close we were before, it seems that the various lockdowns we have experienced in the last 18 months have actually brought communities closer together, with 42% of survey participants saying their relations with neighbours have improved to varying degrees on the back of the pandemic. Those in the 35 – 44 age brackets (46%) were most likely to have experienced this positive development, while women were less likely than men to express this sentiment – with 60% of women saying there was either no change or relations had disimproved, compared to 57% of men feeling the same”.

The Aviva research probed homeowners on the extent to which they would trust their neighbours:

  • 72% of respondents saying that they would trust them with a parcel delivery
  • 44% would give them a spare set of keys to their home
  • 46% would have them look after their home when they were on holidays
  • 30% of respondents trusted their neighbours to look after their garden/plants
  • 25% would let them look after beloved pets when they are away
  • 13% suggested they would trust them to look after their children. 
  • 17% of homeowners would not trust their neighbours at all!

It’s always good to delve deeper to look at whether or not views differ by gender and age cohorts. Men are only marginally less trusting of their neighbours – 18% said they would not trust their neighbours with anything, compared to 17% of women. However, those in the 25-34 age bracket were least likely to trust their neighbours with anything which is perhaps down to the fact that this age group are most likely to be in short-term rental accommodation.

Billy Shannon, Aviva Insurance Ireland

“This survey definitely gives weight to the contention that the people you live amongst can have a big impact on your wellbeing. People are definitely aware of this – almost half of survey respondents say they want to get to know their neighbours better, while 60% lament that there’s just not the same sense of community as there was in previous generations. Perhaps, in the aftermath of a time when isolation and separation was a large component of life, we’ll see the paradoxical long-term impact of people increasingly coming together and a significant and continued rise in community spirit across the country”, concluded Billy Shannon.

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Aviva Group Services Ireland Limited, a private company limited by shares. Registered in Ireland No.322579. Registered Office: Cherrywood Business Park, Dublin, Ireland, D18 W2P5.