Travel | October 7, 2021 12:12 pm

This Small Midwest Capital Is Apparently America’s “Most Neighborly City”

A new survey by the site Neighbor ranks cities by charitable giving, volunteering and happiness

A daytime shot of downtown Madison, WI, which was just named America's most neighborly city
The storage company Neighbor just named this capital America's most neighborly city.
Jonah Brown / Unsplash

Won’t you be my neighbor?

If you’re in Madison, Wisconsin, that old Mister Rogers tune may ring true: According to a new survey, that college town is the 2021 Most Neighborly City in America.

How does one quantify “neighborly,” you may ask? According to crowd-sourced storage site Neighbor, the company that put together the ranking, it involves factors ranging from charitable giving and volunteering to figuring out which cities are the happiest. Admittedly, the methodology is a little nebulous (it involved some internet research and surveying 1,000 people), but some of the results are fascinating … at least for someone who lives in a city where he’s very happy to not know (or hear) his neighbors.

Some interesting stats from the survey:

  • 79% of people said they’ve done at least one favor for their neighbor in the past year.
  • 62% of people say they hang out with their neighbors at least a few times a year.
  • 66% of people say they have at least two neighbors they can depend on to do favors like watering their plants or picking up their mail.
  • And even amid the pandemic, 42% of people said they’re now more likely to start relationships with their neighbors.

As for the neighborly cities, Madison ranked on top due to its status as one of the happiest cities in America, and having the most nonprofits per 100,000 residents and a low crime rate. Rochester, NY had the highest climb on the annual list (now at #2 from #10 the previous year) and Spokane, WA the biggest fall from year-to-year (#8 to #17).