Pittsburgh, Allentown and Harrisburg all made the list of the Top 25 Most Neighborly Cities, according to neighbor.com.
The site compared factors like charitable giving, volunteering, low crime rates, nonprofits and happiness ratings in cities across the nation. Pittsburgh was named the ninth most neighborly, especially thanks to the high number of nonprofits located throughout the Steel City. “Pittsburgh has historically been a great place for value when buying a home; we are usually rated near the top of the list in a variety of housing categories,” said Jim Jarrett, president-elect of the Realtors® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh. “And now we’ve made the Top 10 in 2021 as one of the “Most Neighborly Cities in America. We are big on charitable giving, volunteering, number of nonprofits, community service and well-being, and to add to that, great schools, great health care, great culture and arts, the Steelers and the Penguins. Yinzers are some of the friendliest people you’d want to have as neighbors.”
Harrisburg, named 13th most neighborly, was also applauded for so many nonprofits across the capital. “There are so many great aspects of Harrisburg that place it on the list of most friendly cities,” said Sylvia Hess, vice president of the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors®. “Most evident are the city’s residents and locals who dedicate themselves to many local nonprofit organizations that offer great opportunities to give back and help those in need. So many friendly faces willing to lend a hand, making Harrisburg a great place to live, work and play. There are so many things to do within a short trek of downtown, making it a great place to have fun and make memories.”
“On any given weekend, you might find friends strolling downtown, enjoying great food, drink and entertainment, while others might be taking in the scenery of the Susquehanna River, City Island or jogging in Riverfront Park. Others may be biking, hiking or exploring nearby state parks and forests, taking a ride on the Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat or just relaxing on the riverbank, taking a break from the workweek. All in all, Harrisburg provides such a great mix of endless opportunities and great diversity, the ideal location, friendly faces, unique places, dedicated organizations and the chance to give back and make a difference, no matter what your interest,” she added.
Finally, Allentown, named 19th, ranked so highly because of the low crime rate and high rates of volunteering. “Allentown is going through a renaissance of community, with major changes and improvements being made to the downtown area that is drawing in younger professionals and generally a diverse population. Allentown is home to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Park and the Phantoms at the PPL Center, plus there’s the Allentown Art Museum and the West End Theatre District, so the city is really becoming a booming, walkable, family-friendly destination with a little bit of something for everyone,” said Tim Tepes, president of the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors®.
“In terms of charitable giving, Allentown and the Lehigh Valley are known for coming together when their neighbors are in need,” added Tepes. “The Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors®, for its 100th anniversary celebration, created a grant program to support nonprofit organizations in Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties. These grants allow our organization to aid nonprofits and community organizations that have been hit hard by the pandemic. Many of our Realtor® members are helping to refer organizations and nonprofits to us. That, to me, shows the Allentown and Lehigh Valley way of seeing someone in need and finding them the connection that will help them succeed. That’s simply what we do around here. Helpers are easily found.”
All three cities were new additions to the list this year. The report said that, in addition to volunteering, low crime rates, nonprofits and happiness, there are a few other factors that make a city “neighborly,” according to survey results. Nearly 80% of respondents said they have done at least one favor for a neighbor over the last year, while 66% said they have at least two neighbors they can count on to ask to do favors like picking up mail or watering plants. And nearly two-thirds said they hang out with their neighbors a few times a year.
The COVID-19 pandemic also influenced how people feel about their neighbors. Forty-two percent of respondents said they were now more likely to befriend their neighbors so they can depend on one another in hard times.