How to be a good neighbor in challenging times

(BPT) - Over the past year and a half since the pandemic started, many Americans have had to rethink their ideas about community and belonging. Neighbors often stepped up for one another during times of need, demonstrating generosity and compassion. As the world begins to open up and many are expanding their social circles once again, community is even more important. But what does it actually mean to be a good neighbor?

The third annual "America’s 2021 Most Neighborly Cities and States" report looked at how neighborly Americans are across six key traits:

  • Communicativeness
  • Friendliness
  • Generosity
  • Honesty
  • Punctuality
  • Reliability

These six traits are all factors that go hand-in-hand with building connections between people — and trust within communities.

The report, conducted by the online marketplace OfferUp, used data from their 56 million yearly users to understand which communities have gone out of their way to support one another this past year, and which places best demonstrated what it means to be a good neighbor during difficult times. Some cities and states really stood out, showing their neighborliness through a number of these essential traits.

States that best modeled how to be a good neighbor this past year:

  • Washington, the “Evergreen State," ranked first in all six categories, earning the title of America’s Most Neighborly State. This is the second year in a row the state of Washington has taken the lead.
  • California follows closely behind, maintaining 2020’s ranking as number two.
  • Maryland jumped from number seven in 2020 to number three this year, booting Illinois from its previous third position ranking.
  • Illinois came in fourth this year.
  • New York is the newcomer to the list as America’s fifth Most Neighborly State.

The top contenders for Most Neighborly City were:

  • Seattle-Tacoma: The most neighborly city in America is also, not surprisingly, in America’s most neighborly state. Seattle-Tacoma took the title for America’s Most Neighborly City for the second year in a row. Seattle-Tacoma ranked first for generosity, second for communicativeness, friendliness and honesty, and number three for punctuality. The combined and averaged rankings led the Emerald City to take the title.
  • In California, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose was number two and Los Angeles was number three, both holding onto their 2020 rankings for the second year in a row.
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Florida, ranked number four — a two-spot jump since 2020's number six ranking.
  • Baltimore, Maryland, came in at number five.

Honorable mentions for particular qualities by city include:

  • Alabama’s Birmingham-Anniston-Tuscaloosa was ranked as the friendliest, most communicative, most reliable and most punctual.
  • Seattle-Tacoma was ranked number one for generosity — with the most free items listed on the OfferUp marketplace this year.

How can you make your city more neighborly?

Getting to know your neighbors can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider doing some of the following:

  • See someone new moving in? Introduce yourself and offer help.
  • Do yardwork or hang out on your front porch or stoop — then greet people who walk by.
  • Participate in (or initiate) neighborhood events like block parties or National Night Out.
  • Let neighbors know when you're going on vacation, and offer to keep an eye on their homes when they’re out of town.

OfferUp’s Challenge

Great things happen when neighbors spend more time getting to know one another. No matter where your city and state are ranked, OfferUp challenges you to practice neighborliness every day. Individually, you hold the power to make a positive impact in your community. Collectively, this can create a ripple effect of change across America.

Another way to be a good neighbor is to give away (like Seattle!) or sell your unwanted items within your community. Find out how, and see what’s for sale in your neighborhood at