Apr 22, 2024 | 5 min read

From strangers to neighbors: Unveiling new Harris Poll data on community connectivity

At Nextdoor, we've always believed in the importance of local connections. 

Not just as a concept, but as a lived reality that shapes our everyday well-being. It's why we recently partnered with The Harris Poll to explore how these connections impact us and to better understand the role of digital platforms in fostering real-world ties. 

Our findings are both revealing and affirming.

We were driven by a simple yet profound question: In an age where connectedness is often gauged by digital metrics, how are we truly connecting with the people just beyond our screens—the neighbors around us?

From uncovering the desire many feel to forge stronger neighborhood ties to spotlighting the barriers that sometimes stand in the way, our study uncovers the various ways local connections enrich our lives. Moreover, it reaffirms Nextdoor's commitment to being the neighborhood app that turns virtual handshakes into genuine community engagement, aiming to bridge gaps and bring people together, both online and offline.

Here’s what we found:

The significance of local connections

In our research, we found nearly 1 in 5 (19%) adults say they don’t know anyone / have any friends in their neighborhood. This number increases among younger generations - 30% of Gen Z and 23% of Millennials.

71% of adults say they want to meet more people in their neighborhood, and 50% of adults say they wish they had a closer relationship with their neighbors.

However, 47% of adults say it’s difficult to make new connections in the local area. And we actually see that younger generations are more likely to report it’s difficult.

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With over half of adults (54%) saying “local” is both a physical boundary and sense of community, it’s important to acknowledge the pivotal role that the sense of community plays in the idea of local and the neighborhood. 

Our takeaway: “Local” is both a place and a feeling.

Nextdoor's role in creating community

Using Nextdoor is an easy way to get information and help from neighbors. 85% of Nextdoor users are comfortable asking a neighbor for local service recommendations.

Nextdoor users are more likely to have met their close friends from living nearby or in their neighborhood and more likely to get together with their neighbors at least once a month.

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They also can promote community involvement. And 66% of Nextdoor users wish more of their neighbors would participate in local initiatives and events.

Overall, 74% of adults say neighbor connections are key to not feeling isolated - and that number jumps to 80% for Nextdoor users.

The impact of local connections on businesses

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Nextdoor users not only deeply value the advice and recommendations that they can gain from their neighbors on Nextdoor, they are in a high-intent mindset when they come to Nextdoor. For example, we found 68% are motivated to check Nextdoor to be informed and get things done.

We also see that when brands and small businesses show up locally, that resonates; 72% of adults say it’s important for businesses to show up locally by sharing information specific to where they live. Notably, that number is higher for Nextdoor users at 77%.

Not only showing up locally, but giving back locally creates a powerful message. 79% of adults say it’s important for businesses to give back to communities (84% for Nextdoor users).

Social media as a tool for good

There’s undeniably a lot of research about the negative aspects of social media. In our research, we were curious to ask people to reflect on the platforms they use and how they use them. We found that the positive impacts are felt when social media helps connect you with your community.

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71% of those that say the way they use social media has a positive impact, attribute it to connection / community.

In fact, 75% of Nextdoor users stated they agree Nextdoor makes them feel connected to their community.

The road ahead: Nextdoor's vision for a connected community

Our latest research shows that loneliness isn’t choosy about who it affects; people of all ages are feeling a bit lost in their local neighborhoods, especially the younger crowd. The findings shed light on a simple truth: making friends and finding your community can be tough without the right tools or spaces to help.

This is where the silver lining of our study really shines through. It tells us that social media can actually be a pretty amazing tool, as long as it’s bringing people closer together and helping us feel like part of a community.

That’s exactly what we’re trying to do here at Nextdoor.

We’re more than just an app; we’re a place where real connections are made. Whether you’re a business owner or running a local service, there’s a unique opportunity here to not just sell something, but to really become a part of what makes a neighborhood tick.

Think about it - having your business woven into the daily lives of your local community isn’t just good for business, it's good for everyone. It means you’re here, really present, and ready to make a difference in the places people call home.

Let’s make our neighborhoods not just places where we live, but places where we truly belong—where every hello on the street means something more because, through Nextdoor, we’re more than just neighbors.

Read the full report and learn more about the methodology on the Nextdoor Insights Hub. Read the full press release from Harris Poll here.

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Author image Karli Buescher As a Customer Insights Manager at Nextdoor, Karli develops research studies to uncover insights about Nextdoor’s neighbor audiences.