Sense of community lacking in urban areas, survey says

Macra na Feirme: Residents of country areas more likely to socialise with neighbours

A new survey has found that 71 per cent of adults believe children today feel a lesser sense of community than they themselves did growing up in Ireland.

This rises to three quarters of adults living in urban communities.

The Macra na Feirme “Know your Neighbour” campaign also found that not being familiar with neighbours is more prevalent in urban communities, with almost one in six saying that they do not know their neighbours at all, versus just one in 20 of people in rural communities.

Many people (41 per cent) say that although they are friendly with their neighbours, they would not socialise with them.


However, people in rural communities are far more likely to socialise with their neighbours with over one in five (21 per cent) saying that they would versus just over one in 10 in urban areas (11 per cent).

Commenting on the research Macra national president, Seán Finan, said: “Those living in isolated parts of the country with limited access to services rely on their closest neighbours for support, security and friendship.”

“The aim of “Know Your Neighbour” is to bring everyone together at community events, to get to know these neighbours and establish a strong support network. I am encouraging every community, rural or urban, to get involved.”

Proximity to friends and family

Urban and rural dwellers have conflicting priorities with “peace and quiet” selected as a positive aspect of living in a rural community according to 75 per cent of people – while 89 per cent of urban dwellers believe that convenience is king.

Proximity to friends and family is important universally, with four in 10 rural dwellers and half of urban dwellers saying that it is a positive aspect of where they live.

Other priorities for rural dwellers include friendly people (60 per cent), a sense of community (45 per cent) and a feeling of security (34 per cent).

When asked what aspects of rural life frustrated them, top grievances include slower broadband (63 per cent), a lack of amenities (59 per cent), a lack of local infrastructure (48 per cent) and a lack of job opportunities (45 per cent).

In contrast while urban dwellers appreciate the availability of entertainment facilities (34 per cent), public transport links (31 per cent) and job opportunities (24 per cent), they are frustrated by traffic and congestion (56 per cent), the cost of living (42 per cent), noise (35 per cent) and having to live in smaller accommodation (23 per cent).

The research was conducted through an online survey of 512 adults aged 18+ across the island of Ireland.