Neighbourly? Brits know more about celebrities

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The Independent Online

Brits are likely to know more about popstars and footballers than their next-door neighbours, a survey revealed today.

The findings showed nearly half of us - 49 per cent - are more familiar with our favourite celebrity than with those living across the road.

According to the study, people are now half as "neighbourly" than they were almost three decades ago.

The average person knows the names of just seven people in their neighbourhood, results showed. This figure stood at thirteen in 1982.

The YouGov research found the majority of people - 66 per cent - speak to their neighbours once a week or less.

Only one in four people - 27 per cent - now hold a spare key to next door.

And while the number of people who look after pets or plants for those living nearby has halved to 23 per cent, more than 30 million people will take in parcels as a favour.

Some 26 per cent keep an eye on elderly or disabled people living close by.

The study, commissioned by Co-operatives UK - an organisation which promotes the interests of British co-operatives - found 21 million conversations were held between neighbours every day.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: "It is intriguing that we see our neighbours much less but we like them more.

"While it is true that our streets have changed, Britain at heart still thinks of itself as a neighbourly nation and the reciprocity of contact, conversation and assistance across the garden fence or front drive is still a major driver for co-operation and trust."

Other findings showed people are now four times less willing to start up conversations with complete strangers than in 1982.

The number of people who never pop next door has increased by more than half during the same period.

In a regional breakdown, northerners tend to know most of their neighbours' names (94 per cent), while Londoners are least likely to know their neighbours. Some 11 per cent of those living in the capital were unable to name any.

2167 adults were conducted for the online survey between May 11 and 13.

A comparative study in 1982 was conducted by Market and Opinion Research International, now IPSOS MORI.MORI.