Americans’ wellbeing score increases steadily by the number of neighbors greeted, from 51.5 among those saying hello to zero neighbors to 64.1 for those greeting six neighbors. No meaningful increase in wellbeing is seen for additional neighbors greeted beyond six.
This is an absolutely embarrassing post from Gallup. Everything from their headline to their thesis statement to the body of the article suggests that people who say hello to more of their neighbors causes them to be happier, healthier, and more well off financially.
It seemed clear to me when reading this that the actual causation was reversed; people who are healthy and live in well-to-do neighborhoods are more likely to have the means and the security in engaging with their neighbors more often. Gallup even gets right to this point right at the end of the article.
Other related external factors could also be involved. For example, the links to financial wellbeing -- which peaks at a greater number of neighbors than the other four elements -- may be supported with higher levels of safety in the community, thus increasing the chances of openly greeting neighbors. And those with better physical wellbeing have the energy to move about their neighborhood, increasing the chances of greeting neighbors. Future research on the topic would shed more light on these underlying connections and the strength of the directionality between being neighborly and wellbeing outcomes.
Gee, I wonder what the directionality is here…