(AP) — We all want great neighbors, but where do the most neighborly people live?
Neighbor.com, the self-storage disruptor akin to Airbnb, set out to find America’s 25 Most Neighborly Cities for the third year in a row. The list highlights the cities with the highest levels of ‘neighborliness’ based on charitable donations, volunteering, happiness, and more.
Rochester, New York, secured the top spot this year, followed by Madison, Wisconsin; Provo, Utah; Oxnard, California; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
What Does It Mean To Be Neighborly?
Neighbor surveyed 1,000 Americans about how the recent year’s challenges have impacted their local communities. They also asked what people think makes a community neighborly and how they interact with their neighbors.
“The need for connection is a fundamental human need and is the foundation of a functioning society,” said Neighbor’s CEO and founder, Joseph Woodbury.
The study looked into factors such as friendships among neighbors, helpful interactions between them, and support for local small businesses, community centers, and parks.
Their key findings include:
- 30% of respondents say they hang out with their neighbors more often than before.
- 41% choose to support small businesses over national ones.
- 45% of people choose to be neighborly despite their differing political affiliations.
- 74% say they’ve done favors for their neighbors in the past year
The survey also considered factors that detract from a city’s neighborliness, such as the crime rate and incidences of hate crimes.
Here’s the top five most neighborly cities in America.
1. Rochester, New York
Rising from the #2 spot in last year’s survey, Rochester, New York ranks highly for charitable giving and happiness. With over 206,000 residents, this city boasts high scores in neighborly acts and volunteering. Should you need a helping hand, you’ll likely find it here.
Don Jeffries — the president and CEO of Visit Rochester — notes that Rochesterians’ welcoming and friendly attitude is one of the things that visitors love about the city. It also has nature reserves and county parks, making it an ideal place to live for families who want good neighbors and pleasant surroundings.
Rochester Mayor Malik Evans celebrates the recognition, too. “What a bright spot to be ranked the number-one most neighborly city in America,” said Evans. “Like many other cities across the country, Rochester has its share of struggles, but this recognition is a testament to our residents’ generosity, kindness, and volunteerism and reminds us that together, we make our city a great place to live.”
2. Madison, Wisconsin
Populated by over 250,000 people, Madison, Wisconsin is considered the sixth happiest city in the US. It ranks #2 on Neighbor’s list and records the most local nonprofits per capita – 16.6 per 10,000 residents.
Madison is a robust college town with students actively supporting the community. The city has the most parks per capita among major US cities, with about 11 parks per 10,000 people. Over 200 miles of trails connect these green spaces with the city’s urban core, allowing families to pedal around the lake and live life on wheels.
3. Provo, Utah
Vaulting up from #23 in last year’s survey, Provo, Utah secures the #3 spot this year by having the highest rate of charitable giving. It has the highest number of residents who volunteer for local organizations. Utah is also ranked as the best US State to start an online business due to favorable tax rates, low regulatory hurdles, and robust technology infrastructure.
Provo is well-known for its low crime rate. Given the uptrend in major crimes across America in 2022, moving to a city where the total crime rate is lower than the national average is a sensible decision.
4. Oxnard, California
Oxnard, California jumps from #18 last year to #4 this year. This huge jump is due to its status as one of the happiest places in the US. Neighbor ranks Oxnard in the top third of all cities for charitable giving, volunteering, and neighborly acts. In other words, this city is great if you want neighbors that are happy and happy to help. Oxnard also consistently ranks in the top 10 list of cities with the highest average net worth in the USA.
Los Angeles is only an hour away from Oxnard. Ventura, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, and Simi Valley are all close to the city. The city is also home to several beaches where you can enjoy many outdoor activities. To top it all off, Oxnard has a more comfortable year-round climate than most places in California, scoring 9.8/10 on BestPlaces’ comfort index, higher than the national average of 7.8.
5. Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan rounds out the top five in Neighbor’s survey, securing the position by ranking third in charitable giving, volunteering, and neighborly acts. Climbing from #14 last year, Grand Rapids has an abundant number of parks for its residents. Around 76% of locals live within walking distance of a public park.
Additionally, the city is a leader in sustainability, environmental protection, and carbon emission reduction, and it ranks among the greenest cities in the US. If you’re a breweries and beer bars fan, Grand Rapids holds the nickname Beer City USA.
Visiting Beer City Ale Trail gives you access to more than 80 breweries. A month-long celebration called Beer Month GR lets you participate in events like “Cool Brews. Hot Eats” and the annual Winter Beer Festival.
Where To Go Next
Apart from these top five cities, Neighbor’s survey also listed the following cities as among the most neighborly cities in America in 2022, in order of ranking:
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Poughkeepsie, New York
- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Des Moines, Iowa
- San Jose, California
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Ogden, Utah
- Seattle, Washington
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- New Haven, Connecticut
- Portland Oregon
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Toledo, Ohio
- Springfield, Massachusetts
- Albany, New York
- Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Spokane, Washington
Moving to a city can be challenging. You must make new friends, adjust to a new life and learn your way around unfamiliar surroundings. Having a supportive and welcoming community makes it easier.
The Neighbor survey proves that it is still possible to find great cities with purpose-built communal infrastructure and friendly, helpful neighbors. Whether you plan to start a small business or simply want to hang out with pleasant people, you’ll be in good company when you settle in these cities.