What are the friendliest places in America? The self-storage company Neighbor.com has just released its fourth annual list of America’s 25 Most Neighborly Cities, in honor of National Neighbor Day. The 2023 study ranks U.S. cities based on factors like charitable donations, volunteering, crime rates and more.
This year, Madison, Wisconsin has been named the most neighborly city in the U.S. This is not the first time that this friendly Midwestern city has topped the list: It was also in the number one spot in 2021, and last year it ranked second.
“According to research, it ranks number three as one of the nation’s happiest cities and it leads the nation in non-profits per 100,000 residents,” Neighbor’s CEO and co-founder, Joseph Woodbury, told me in an interview.
Adding to Madison’s allure: “It ranks high for outdoor recreational activities, breweries and farmers markets. Residents also turn up to the polls—in the last mayoral race nearly 60% of residents participated,” says Woodbury. “All around, Madison residents care for one another, engage in community events and go the extra mile to make it an even better city.”
Second on the list is Minneapolis, which—despite some high-profile issues in the past few years—has moved up from number 13 to number two. Minneapolis scores high in volunteering and charitable giving, but that’s not all. “It is known for its countless blue lakes, thriving art scene and high-end entertainment and cuisine joints,” says Woodbury. “With so much to do around the city, we can see why people move here and then plan to stay.”
Colorado Springs also jumped up a number of spaces—from number 12 on last year’s list to number three this year. “Colorado Springs is taking the top ranking as the city with the highest volunteer rates with 69% of city residents supporting a local organization,” says Woodbury. “In the heart of the Rocky Mountains, it is clear why visitors flock to Colorado Springs to experience nature during all four seasons. For some, a quick visit to Colorado Springs just isn’t enough to satisfy their craving for rugged Colorado charm. More and more tourists are making the switch to full-time residency.”
Rounding out the list of the top five cities: Sarasota, Florida and Rochester, New York (which was the winner in the 2022 report). According to Woodbury, Sarasota is a newcomer to the list. “This picturesque seaside community has average temperatures of 72 degrees and 37 miles of shoreline,” says Woodbury, who points out another interesting fact. “With year-round beach life calling many to the Sunshine State, Sarasota topped the list with the highest population change of all the top 25 cities—adding 3.4% new faces to the community between 2021 and 2022.”
Rochester—the most neighborly city of 2022—appears, once again, in the top five of 2023, coming in at number five. “Rochester continues to score high in charitable giving and volunteering,” says Woodbury. “Last year, Mayor Don Jefferies shared that ‘One of the things we often hear from visitors is how welcoming and friendly Rochesterians are.’ Today, Rochester continues to meet the gold standard of neighborly charm.”
So are there any surprises? “While several cities have appeared on the list numerous times over the years, we’re always surprised by the newcomers—this year Cincinnati; Phoenix; Knoxville, Tennessee; Boise, Idaho; and Sarasota earned the ‘most neighborly’ title for the first time,” says Woodbury.
The study also looks at topics surrounding community relationships, what Americans value most and what bugs them. “In addition to a ranking, we conducted a survey to learn more about how people feel about their neighbors and community as a whole. This year, we learned that 85% of Americans plan to stay in their current residence and 45% plan to stay for good, which shows that locals are finally content with their neighborhoods after so much movement in recent years,” says Woodbury.
Other trends in the survey include:
• Americans are embracing community events: According to the survey, 90% of Americans plan to participate in their neighborhood as much or more over the next year, while 11% plan to do so much more than they do this year. This means participating in community gatherings like neighborhood block parties, local church events, youth sports, live music performances, shopping at farmer’s markets and more.
• Americans are here to help (especially in the event of a natural disaster): According to the survey, 94% of Americans will help their neighbors in the event of a natural disaster, while 63% are likely to ask for help from their neighbors if and when needed.
• Americans are impacted by politics at home: According to the survey, 40% have seen the political divide in America impact their neighbors in at least one way. This includes: 18% being annoyed by a neighbor’s political signs, 17% have complained in an online forum and 15% have ended friendships over politics.
You can find the full methodology here, which includes the survey questions that helped the data scientists understand ongoing societal challenges and essential characteristics of the most neighborly communities. And read on for the list of America’s 25 Most Neighborly Cities.
Ranked: America’s 25 Most Neighborly Cities
- Madison, Wisconsin
- Colorado Springs
- Sarasota, Florida
- Rochester, New York
- Provo, Utah
- Salt Lake City
- Ogden, Utah
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- Richmond, Virginia
- Virginia Beach, Virginia
- Portland, Oregon
- Winston-Salem, North Carolina
- Des Moines
- Boise, Idaho
- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- Washington, D.C.
- New Haven, Connecticut
- Knoxville, Tennessee