Most people don’t know their neighbours’ first names

Younger people "significantly more isolated" from those who live nearby but look them up more on social networking sites

Around 17 per cent of people say that they have not spoken to any of their neighbours in over a month - this figure rises to three in ten of those aged between 18 and 34.

Meanwhile, 51 per cent of those with neighbours admit they don't know their first names, according to research from Churchill Home Insurance, while 70 per cent are unaware of their full names.

The findings also show that:

* over a third of people would not even recognise their neighbours in person

* nearly three quarters do not know what their next door neighbours do for a living

*  61 per cent can't remember how long their neighbours have lived next door

Just over 40 per cent were had no idea if their neighbours have children, the figure rising to 47 per cent when it came to pets.

"Relationships with our neighbours have changed significantly over the years because the way we live, work and socialise has evolved," said Martin Scott, head of Churchill home insurance. "We move homes more frequently, spend a lot less time communicating face to face and are more cautious about who we welcome into our homes. As a result, we know very little about our neighbours, as we all get on with our own busy lives.

"The lack of trust and familiarity between neighbours does have implications. People may be less willing and less able to watch out for each other - realising there is a stranger on a neighbour’s property is very difficult if we cannot recognise the person who lives there."

Indeed, less than a third would call their neighbours 'friends', falling to 18 per cent for those aged 18-34. In fact 13 per cent of people say they distrust, dislike or deliberately avoid their next door neighbours.

Although the research suggests that younger people are "significantly more isolated" from those they share a street or building with, they are also more likely to have used social networking sites and search engines to find information about their neighbours. On average, eight per cent of all UK adults admit to having done this, compared to 15 per cent of those aged 18-34.

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