- Over one in ten (11%) millennials admit to never speaking to their neighbour, compared to just 2% of over 55s and 4% of 35-54-year olds
- It’s the older generation maintaining the UK’s sense of community: while seven in ten (69%) over 55s have spoken to their neighbour in the last week, millennials (18-34) interact with their neighbours far less frequently with just a quarter (23%) saying the same
- But almost one in ten (8%) over 55s stated that no one at all comes to visit them at home
Friendly, neighbourhood communities could be dying out, as over one in ten (11%) Millennials (18 – 34s) admit to never speaking to their neighbour. On the flipside over 55s seem to value community far more than their younger counterparts with just 2% saying the same thing.
New research from Mayfield Villages shows that there are generational differences in the way people connect with their local community. Two thirds (69%) of over 55s have spoken to their neighbour in the last week, while just under a quarter (23%) of millennials (18-34) say the same thing.
These generational splits could put communities as a whole at risk, unfortunately for those older generations who rely and place greater importance on them. Less than a third (29%) of millennials know their neighbour’s full name, compared to two thirds (66%) of over 55s.
Older generations are also much more likely to place trust in their neighbours. Over 55s are twice as likely (55%) to leave a spare set of keys with their neighbour than 18-34-year olds (23%) or ask them to look after their property when away (57% vs 26%). And even amongst the over 55s trust increases with age: 61% of those aged 65 – 69 and 71% of those aged 81+ are likely to leave their keys with a neighbour.
The community is particularly vital for older people: a lack of interaction with neighbours can translate into isolation and loneliness for older people. Over a quarter (27%) of over 55s say the postman comes to visit them at home more anybody else, versus just 17% of millennials or 35 – 54s. And almost one in ten (8%) over 55s stated that no one at all comes to visit them at home.
There is clearly more to having a neighbourly relationship than just borrowing a cup of sugar. As previous research from Audley Group and the International Longevity Centre has shown, communal living in later years can have a major impact on quality of life and reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Paul Morgan, Managing Director Operations at Mayfield Villages said: “We know there is a strong link between our relationships and personal well-being, but busy lives often prevent us from getting to know those who are right on our doorstep. It seems clear that generations approaching retirement appreciate the benefits that come with living in a community, whereas the idea of neighbourhood is far less important for younger millennials who don’t yet appreciate or even understand the potential positives.
“The worry is that communities will break down and older generations will miss out on the benefits of socialising with their neighbour.
“Given the health benefits and the obvious demand from those in later life, it is crucial that there are enough high-quality housing options to ensure that older generations can continue to live in an area with their friends and peers into their old age. As for millennials, they probably underestimate the difference that a simple hello can make to someone’s day.”