Studies and results from around the world
As the neighborhood network, Nextdoor has participated in a number of research studies that examine community connections across the globe. We will continue to partner with key experts, bridging technology and science to help cultivate a kinder world. Here you’ll learn about findings from third parties, industry leaders, and internal analysis of the platform.
Table of contents
- Economic costs of loneliness
- Kindest U.S. states
- Promoting online civility
- Most impactful acts of kindness
- Inclusive moderation
- Community resilience following Hurricane Harvey
- Disrupting racial bias
- Kindness can decrease loneliness
- Neighborhood insights
Economic costs of loneliness
In Spain, Nextdoor, in partnership with the Observatory of Unwanted Loneliness, created by the ONCE Foundation, released the findings of a new study in 2023 around the economic costs of loneliness. The study found that unwanted loneliness negatively impacts individuals’ quality of life and imposes considerable economic costs on both the national healthcare system and productivity. Below are some details supporting these findings:
- Unwanted loneliness in Spain creates an economic burden estimated at 14 billion euros per year, representing 1.17% of Spain’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021. The costs are mainly attributed to increased use of healthcare services, costing over 5.6 billion euros per year, and drug consumption, costing nearly 496 million euros.
- Productivity losses related to unwanted loneliness amount to over 8 billion euros annually, roughly 0.67% of the GDP.
- Unwanted loneliness results in a decrease in quality of life, equating to a loss of over 1 million Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs), and nearly 18,000 QALYs lost annually due to premature deaths. This equates to a 2.79% reduction in healthy years of life for the Spanish adult population.
Kindest U.S. states
Nextdoor, Verizon, and Kindness.org expanded on their initial research with a second academic study in November 2022 to see how kindness in America has changed and investigate the ways in which kindness impacts neighborhoods.
The results revealed that Americans have a ‘kindness quotient’ of 86% – which means that they care about their neighbors 86% as much as they care about themselves. The research also found that kindness from neighbors was the best predictor of: individual happiness, satisfaction with one’s neighborhood, identification with one’s neighbors, and sense of inclusion with one’s neighborhood.
While all 50 states ranked high, Georgia made it to the top of the new leaderboard as the state with the kindest neighbors, followed by Tennessee and North Carolina.
Promoting online civility
A study conducted in collaboration with Yale Law School tested whether social media platforms can be designed to encourage more civil conversations among neighbors, promoting individual and community well-being. The study prompted neighbors on Nextdoor to move their popular posts from their neighborhood-wide feed to new groups dedicated to discussion of that specific topic, and included an experiment that randomized the announcement of community guidelines to members who join these groups.
Published in October 2022, the results led to content that was less likely to be reported and more likely to be virtuous in tone, which indicates that platform architecture can be used to positively shape the civility of conversations. This research demonstrates that Nextdoor considers the importance of the design, structure, and affordance of its platform when seeking to promote civility and other prosocial behaviors.
Most impactful acts of kindness
To celebrate National Neighbor Day on September 28, 2022, Nextdoor and Verizon released new insights from a joint research study with Kindness.org that revealed the overall kindest, as well as the most cost-effective kind acts people can do for those in their communities.
The top 10 overall kindest acts to do for a neighbor included paying for their groceries, reminding a neighbor that they matter, and donating money or essentials to help them.
Delving further into the perceived balance of cost and benefit, the research also defined the most cost-effective acts of kindness for neighbors, revealing the high value of gestures that come from the heart rather than the wallet. The most cost-effective kind acts to do for neighbors include:
- Compliment a neighbor
- Remind a neighbor that they matter
- Accept a neighbor as they are
- Tell a neighbor what a positive difference they made to someone else’s life
- Donate items they no longer need or us
In order to help Nextdoor volunteer moderators grow as leaders in their communities, we introduced an inclusive moderation course designed to improve inclusive communication and moderation skills. We partnered with Stanford SPARQ to measure the impact and efficacy of the course material in 2022.
The analysis found that after completing the course, >95% of participants indicated they would take action when they encounter scenarios of tone policing, racial profiling, and coded language.
Community resilience following Hurricane Harvey
A 2021 study by Courtney Page-Tan published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction analyzed how social media use impacted recovery efforts in the weeks following 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. With rising floodwaters, the absence of a city-wide evacuation order, and a call from leadership for volunteers to make rescues, Nextdoor provided a platform to share information, quickly organize rescues, and promote community resilience.
The study found those who used Nextdoor were more likely to receive help from neighbors to collect and pile debris following Hurricane Harvey compared to individuals who indicated they never used the platform, a finding not found among Facebook and Twitter users.
Disrupting racial bias
Since 2015, Nextdoor has partnered with Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt, a social psychologist at Stanford University and member of our Neighborhood Vitality Advisory Board, to better understand how to mitigate implicit bias. We found that adding friction to the posting process helps slow people down and consider their own bias. The result was a complete overhaul of our crime and safety post flow that helps to educate members around bias and forces people to slow down and think before they post. Ultimately, these tactics have led to a 75% decrease in racial profiling on the app.
Nextdoor has continued to work with Dr. Eberhardt and her team to introduce additional moments of friction across the platform to foster more productive conversations online and in the real world.
Kindness can decrease loneliness
Nextdoor, in conjunction with key academic leaders, conducted a global scientific study in 2020 examining how meaningful connections and small acts of kindness impact feelings of loneliness, quality of life, and well-being.
The research team consisted of leading loneliness experts including Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad from Brigham Young University in the US from University of Manchester, Australia-based Dr. Michelle Lim from Swinburne University of Technology, and UK-based Dr. Pamela Qualter from University of Manchester.
The results found that knowing as few as six neighbors reduces the likelihood of feeling lonely and is linked to lower depression, social anxiety, and financial concerns related to COVID-19. Additionally, performing small acts of kindness for neighbors also reduces the likelihood of feeling lonely — While 1 in 10 participants said they experienced feelings of loneliness at the start of the study, the number was reduced to 1 in 20 after the study was completed.
Nextdoor releases insights reports on a regular basis highlighting neighborhood-level trends in areas including shopping, work travel, home renovations, moving, and more. The reports analyze data from the Nextdoor platform and third-party research companies.
Recent highlights include:
- 83% of Nextdoor users’ purchase decisions are impacted by use of product or service by a neighbor
- 66% of Nextdoor users say they’re impacted by what their neighbors use when considering auto purchases
- 71% of Nextdoor users have shared a business recommendation