The pandemic has encouraged people to 'love thy neighbour', a MyGate study shows

An interesting study conducted by community app MyGate revealed that more people are now trusting and depending on their neighbours and people in their local communities - like their domestic help and watchmen - than they did, pre-COVID-19.

81 percent of people are now more connected with their neighbours and neighbourhood than in the pre-pandemic era, and count them, as well as their domestic help, local vendors, and support staff as part of their 'trust circle', a study commissioned by community app MyGate showed.

Because of increasing distances not just socially, but also relationally, people are depending more on their neighbours and the local community to help them deal with the pandemic or any exigencies, than they are on friends and relatives, the study added.

And that cuts across all age groups - 28 percent of the Gen Z respondents, for example, said they depend on their neighbourhood more than they depend on close relatives (22 percent) and friends (25 percent).

The trend is quite antithetical to the norm in the pre-pandemic era where, with most people living in nuclear families, there were silos and microcosms.

Now, 38 percent of the 2,867 Indians that the study polled, say they feel confident leaving their house keys with their neighbours while going out, and 73 percent say they engage with their domestic help and service staff beyond work, such as offering tea or coffee, or helping them meet expenditures by giving them small loans.

Source: MyGate research

Over the last year, social media has been rife with stories of neighbours shopping for COVID-19 positive families, helping out elderly residents, donating food packets to migrants, and easing their community service staff's financial troubles, indicating people are thinking of those in their immediate proximity as part of their social circle too.

“It has been heartening to hear the many stories of neighbours coming closer together to tackle this unprecedented situation for over a year now. From this research, we can infer that these stories are not mere anomalies but the real expansion of our ‘Trust Circle’", said Vijay Arisetty, CEO and Co-founder of MyGate.

"The pandemic has re-infused the need to be connected with one’s neighbours, with all demographics showing greater trust in members of the neighbourhood than before, be it the family next door, the local chemist or the apartment security guard," he added.

Source: MyGate research

Technology has played an important part in all of this, with 90 percent saying that Zoom, WhatsApp video, Skype, Google Meet has helped them play a bigger role in addressing community issues.

Edited by Anju Narayanan