Even while not experiencing the grumpiness and aggressive driving (and even domestic violence) that follows a Cowboys loss, such as the one endured yesterday, Dallas, on a good day, barely breaks the top-20 (out of 30 measured) when it comes to neighborliness, according to a recent study.
Dallas ranks 19, behind Houston and Austin, on a list of 30 mid-sized and big cities with populations over 280,000 analyzed by Storage Cafe. Researchers measured relative happiness insofar as satisfaction with neighbors, sense of community, involvement in community activities and willingness to recommend the neighborhood to others.
The study indicates cost of living is a factor in our low ranking.
In fact, the cost of living has increased across the country, and Dallas experienced a 7.5% annual increase as of late 2021.
The Storage Cafe team surveyed close to 11,000 people nationwide and determined that a “good location” is the most sought-after neighborhood feature.
They found that Millennials declare themselves to be the most bothered by noise, the No. 1 offender, followed by Gen Xers.
Space, affordability and community friendliness also ranked high when deciding where to live.
“After almost two years of going through a pandemic, we have a renewed sense of appreciation for human connection,” the authors note. “Having good neighbors can make our living experience more pleasant … whether through volunteering, throwing a block party, hanging out at the community center or engaging in conversations while at the local playground, living in a tight-knit neighborhood is associated with overall increased well-being.”
Dr. Joseph Ferrari, Professor of Community Psychology at DePaul University, College of Science and Health weighed in on the pandemic affect, saying that it likely intensified dynamic that were already in place. For example, social (physical) distancing just encouraged alternate ways of socializing.
“For instance, at Halloween this year, people created tubes they could slide candy down and into waiting buckets of excited trick-or-treaters”, he says. “If, on the other hand, people just moved into a neighborhood during those last two years and they never got to meet their neighbors, the situation is different. This might have made it difficult for them to be neighborly as they didn’t have a chance to frequently interact with their neighbors.
So which city topped the neighborliness list? Indianapolis. Here’s what Indy has on Dallas — a stronger sense of community, with 58% of locals feeling satisfied; higher perceived civic engagement, with 65% of people reporting that they volunteer, donate to charity or clean up public spaces; and residents report a likelihood of recommending their neighborhood to other people.
Dallas scored about average, compared to the other cities surveyed, on liking our neighbors at 67%. Only 48% of responding Dallasites report a sense of community. About 55% of respondents thought we have solid civic involvement. A little over half of us would recommend our neighborhood to others.
At the bottom of the rankings sits Los Angeles and Jacksonville, Florida.
Check out the full report for methodology and more.