Are English cities really untrusting and detached from their neighbours? According to our latest research survey, we suggest urban neighbours trust and know one another better than you might think.
The YouGov survey carried out on our half asked a sample of residents in seven major English cities (Brighton and Hove, Bristol, London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle) questions on how well they knew their closest neighbours and whether or not they trusted them.
Bristolians consistently polled highest overall when asked if they trusted their neighbours* to look after their pets, or home, or home’s spare keys. For example, 56% of people from Bristol with a pet would trust their neighbour to look after it, but this reduces to 30% in Birmingham.
Manchester was the least trusting when it comes to asking their neighbours to take care of these things: they were the least keen to trust their neighbours to look after spare keys (33%), their home (36%) or pets (30% of those with a pet). For example, nearly 50% of Mancunians would not trust their neighbours to look after any of the above, compared to 39% of respondents from London who answered the same question.:
Name thy neighbour
The survey found that a large number of the respondents of the seven cities knew the name of at least one of their five closest neighbours*. Bristol again came top; this time for knowing the name of at least one of their neighbours (86%).
Perhaps surprisingly, 84% of Londoners knew the name of at least one neighbour, more than Manchester (75%), Birmingham (82%), Leeds (83%) and Newcastle (78%).
Know thy neighbour
Knowing names is one thing, but being good friends with your neighbours is quite another. Leeds came top when it came to considering at least one of their neighbours as a ‘good friend’ - a total of 43% polled. More Londoners would consider at least one of their neighbours a good friend than in Manchester (34% vs 29%). Almost 7 in 10 (69%) of people from Manchester wouldn’t consider any of their five closest neighbours as good friends!
It is more common for people to know the names of at least one person from their five closest neighbours in most cities, than to know none at all.
But what is particularly heartening, is that around two in five residents polled in each city said they would like to interact with their neighbours more that they currently do.
But how trusting are theses cities’ residents when it comes to strangers?
Don’t be a stranger
Respondents were asked how likely (or unlikely) they would you be to let a stranger borrow their mobile phone to make a call in the area they live in.
Well, if you desperately needed to, the ‘best place’ to ask would be in Bristol as 40% of them said they would let a stranger use their phone. This decreases to just 19% in Birmingham.
However, overall the English city dwellers are still more cautious about trusting strangers (at least with their mobile phones). Around 6 to 7 out of 10 people in the seven cities said they would be unlikely to let a stranger borrow their phone to make a call.
*When we say neighbour we mean five closest houses to where the respondent lives
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About the research
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1012 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 31st August - 6th September 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of each city.
- YouGov is registered with the Information Commissioner
- YouGov is a member of the British Polling Council