So much for “love sweet love”
A new book released last week, “Social Trends in American Life”, sees a group of prominent American social scientists presenting and explaining the results of the General Social Survey—an ongoing study that has regularly recorded and tracked changes in social attitudes and make-up since the early 1970s. Every other year, researchers collect detailed information from a large random sample of American adults in order to understand how American society is evolving. For the most part, the results are unsurprising.
… One trend in the pattern of American social life is curious: Americans have never been less likely to be friends with their neighbours than before. In 1974, 44% of respondents said that they had spent a social evening with neighbours more than once a month. By 2008, that number had dropped to a tick over 30%. Over the course of the study’s existence, the number has been dropping consistently.
… The primary culprit here is suburbanisation. Suburban life for most Americans is far from the bed-hopping intrigues depicted in “Desperate Housewives”. Instead, big houses, wide streets and lengthy commutes reduce the chance of running into neighbours, let alone becoming friends. Technology too has made staying in contact with friends and relatives easier than in the past, decreasing the need or time available to meet those over the fence.
If I accomplish anything with this blog, I hope it will be that my readers start connecting with their neighbors and start having their own beer fires! So, this weekend, get out there and meet your neighbors!
(Blog programming note: The blog will be back next week with posts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as we close in on 1800 page views! Not bad for our first month. And, you can now more easily sign up to follow the blog via email and twitter (just look to your right). I am overwhelmingly grateful for all of your support.) -SB