Love thy neighbour? Public trust and acceptance of the people who live alongside us
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Love thy neighbour? Public trust and acceptance of the people who live alongside us

27 April 2023


The UK now has some of the highest levels of neighbourhood trust internationally, while Britons have also become much more comfortable with having neighbours who belong to historically marginalised groups, such as gay people, those of a different race, immigrants, and people who have AIDS. Research by the Policy Institute at King’s College London finds the liberalisation of social attitudes in Britain is reflected in changing views of who the public say they would not like to have as neighbours, with attitudes softening towards several groups. Of around 20 countries included in the study, the UK now ranks as the most, or among the most, relaxed about living next to a range of people – including those of a different religion and those who speak a different language. However, this increasing tolerance does not extend to all in society: compared with when trends began, the public have in fact become less open to people who are addicted to drugs being their neighbours, while a majority still take issue with heavy drinkers. The analysis was carried out as part of the World Values Survey (WVS), one of the largest and most widely used academic social surveys in the world, in operation since 1981. The groups asked about, as well as the terms used to describe them, therefore reflect the priorities and language of different eras, yet have not been altered given the value of tracking long-term trends in public opinion. The latest UK data was collected in 2022, with data for other nations collected at various points throughout the latest wave of the WVS, which spanned 2017 to 2022.

Published in
United Kingdom



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