National survey of difficult neighbors identifies the place where you're most likely to encounter nightmare scenarios.
You might build a home that’s a perfect sanctuary, but you have little control over what happens around it, especially when it comes to nuisance neighbors. Whether your dwelling is urban, suburban or on a private island, if you’re human, you’re bound to be irritated by things your neighbors do. In a recent poll, we set out to identify the cities in America where neighbors roil each other most, and a laundry list of the most common complaints.
We surveyed residents from 24 of the biggest cities in America, and, inevitably, there were winners and losers. Atop the list of most annoying cities are Dallas, Miami and Austin. Cities where neighbors are least annoying include Minneapolis, Portland and Atlanta. Interestingly, climate may play a role—four of the five most annoying cities are in hot, southern climates and four of the five least annoying cities are in temperate climates further north. Maybe staying cool is part of the equation? Either way, we know Americans have a long list of specific complaints.
Without question, noise is the leading offense. Loud music is the top culprit in that category, and no city has the volume turned up higher than Houston. People also cite loud kids, pets and TVs as top ten issues, but drowning those out are the loud voices of our fellow adults. Loud talking and shouting is the second most annoying thing that neighbors do!
General grumpiness also made the top ten, along with parking issues and dog poop (we’re looking at you, Nashville). Other modes of annoyance include smells (tobacco, pets, cooking) and filth (overflowing garbage, dirty yard, dirty home exterior). As for common annoyances that are not-so-annoying, Americans are forgiving when it comes to personal expression, specifically in the form of yard signs, holiday decorations, and… nudity in and around the property.
Once we fielded all the gripes, we asked respondents, “Did you confront anyone about it?” Results were close to an even split—56 percent of Americans have confronted a neighbor, 46 percent have not. For those who have, face-to-face is the preferred method, followed by a full-blown escalation in calling the police. As for the cities where people are most likely to confront an annoying neighbor, San Antonio, San Diego and Houston top the list.
Methodology: In August 2018, we surveyed 2,500 adult residents of 24 cities. Results are based on a sample of at least 100 residents from each city.