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B. Is Today's Society Neighborly?

Narrator: This is Science Today. Contrary to popular belief, modern Americans are actually more rooted today than they were in the past. Claude Fischer, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley has studied mobility trends and says one of the reasons today's society regards itself as less rooted, is the fact many of us don't seem to know our neighbors.

Fischer: It could both be the case that people are moving less and less and the case that they're less likely to know their neighbors well because of other things going on. One of them is, for instance, at the end of the 20th Century, fewer people are at home at a give time. So it's quite often the case that you have a neighborhood where people stay, but nobody's home during the day, so those opportunities for contacts and getting together are less.

Narrator: Fischer says the main thrust of his research is to essentially set the record straight.

Fischer: So if we're worried, for example, about community action or we're worried about social disorder in our neighborhoods, one of the glib answers which is just "well, that's just modern life, people move from place to place" - I think we have to set that answer aside and look at other things.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.