Neighbourliness thrives as survey debunks social breakdown myth

Tuesday 7 October 2008

Neighbourliness thrives as survey debunks social breakdown myth

People still speak to their neighbours and, more importantly, trust them, according to a new survey for published today (8 September).

The Saga/Populus survey of 10,000 over 50s was launched as the number of people using online social networking sites continues to soar. It shows that half of the respondents (51 per cent) have either a key to their neighbour's house or have swapped keys with their neighbour.

Today's results show that face-to-face interaction is not dead with eight out of ten over 50s stopping and speaking to their neighbours at least once a week with almost one in five (19 per cent) chatting to their neighbours on a daily basis.

The figures are similar to those who speak on the telephone to their friends and family with 21 per cent claiming they do this on a daily basis with 90 per cent talking at least once a week.

Around one in seven over 50s communicate electronically with their neighbours, a figure that is expected to rise as social networking sites become further ingrained in our culture.

Despite the already seemingly high level of neighbourly interaction, when asked whether they would like to have more to do with their neighbours, four in ten said they would.

People talk to their neighbours mostly for social purposes (94 per cent), although no one admitted to actively seeking advice from their neighbours. Almost half of over 50s (45 per cent) admitted checking on their neighbours to see how they are. However, a third of those aged over 65 said that neither they nor their neighbour call or drop by to see how the other is getting on.

Rupert Miles, Chief Executive Saga Publishing said: "This survey of 10,000 people debunks the myth of the "broken society". It is clear that people are not only talking to each other face to face, they are also looking out for their neighbours and hoping to have more contact in the future. The use of new technology and social networking sites, such as Sagazone, is supporting this contact and will continue to grow as more and more over 50s go online".

Of the minority who said they never spoke to their neighbours the main reasons were never seeing each other, having nothing in common, and valuing privacy.

Today's survey comes as announces it has grown to almost 50,000 members.


Notes to Editors-

Saga Zone launched in November 2007 immediately securing around 13,000 members. There are now over 45,000 members on the site.

For further press information please contact the Saga Press Office on: 01303 771529.

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