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Half of Britons do not know neighbours

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.

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