We were interested this week in a new survey about neighbors, a study that just came out. It suggests that your neighbors probably care about you much more than you may suspect — and that you may care about them more than you know too. The survey shows that 83 percent of people are willing to assist a neighbor who is experiencing financial problems. Other key findings include these:
- 45 percent of those surveyed said they would help a needy neighbor look for work
- 44 percent would prepare meals for them
- 32 percent would babysit to help a neighbor save money
- 15 percent would lend money to their struggling neighbor
- 10 percent would allow that neighbor to move in with them for a brief time
The research was carried out by State Farm and Harris Interactive. (As you likely know, State Farm is the Humanity Project’s major sponsor so we were especially pleased to see this study coming from them. Of course, State Farm’s longtime slogan is, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” The survey fits right into their work for customers and also their extensive efforts to improve the community, in part by supporting groups like the Humanity Project.) This study offers some pretty amazing stats, when you reflect on them a bit. To the Humanity Project, the figures make at least a couple of important points. First, they indicate how much people really do care about the well-being of others — even when there’s no obvious payoff for this concern. Second, the study suggests that we need to feel a sense of connection in some way before we help others, a feeling that we have something in common. Even if it’s only the coincidence of living in the same neighborhood. The results most likely would look very different if the same folks were asked about their willingness to help complete strangers with money troubles. Even if that’s true, though, the Humanity Project thinks this survey shows there is a strong foundation in our society on which to build. To foster more of those connected feelings, to broaden the sense of a common bond far beyond our neighbors. We all share a common bond after all, every human being. We live on the same planet, we are members of the same species. We are much more alike than unlike each other. And we need each other so that we can survive. Our group is working to help advance this idea in whatever ways we can … and to create innovative programs and writings that show how individuals may apply this idea in the real world. Thanks to State Farm and Harris Interactive for the survey. It’s one more reason for realistic optimism as we look toward the future.