Spending Time with Neighbors is a critical measure of social cohesion, a sense of unity that leads to stronger civic health and better outcomes for individuals and communities. Research has shown a strong link between these types of connections and broader community and economic resilience:
- The National Conference on Citizenship produced research showing that a community’s social cohesion is an important predictor of its ability to withstand unemployment in a recession. For example, after the Great Recession, states with high social cohesion (defined by trusting, helping, and spending time with neighbors) had unemployment rates 2% lower than their less connected and less trusting counterparts, even when controlling for demographics and other economic factors.
- These neighborly connections can also lead to feeling connected to our communities, which can in turn predict economic growth. Liking and caring about where one lives increases the odds that one will invest, spend, and hire there.
Arizona ranked last nationally in 2017 for the number of Arizonans who spend time with their neighbors, trailing the national average by a margin of 11 percentage points.