Homeless people go unseen everyday, as passers-by ignore their existence on sidewalks, in parks, in subway stations. Yet majority claim they have compassion for these people. Meetville.com (dating app to find the right person) released a survey to estimate the scale of the problem.
The poll, which was held from 2/20/14 to 8/20/14, was based on the following question: “Have the homeless become invisible?” The results were balanced: “Yes” – 44%, “No” – 56%.
Paul Toro, a psychology professor at Wayne State University, admits that a large percentage of people choose to ignore the homeless. “While the abstract notion of helping those people draws support, an actual encounter with a homeless person asking for help often repels. The absence of knowledge about the homeless creates a space for people to project their fears — and then escape them,” says Paul.
The total number of participants was 119,329. From the USA – 47%. from Canada – 5%, from Britain – 13%, from Australia – 8% and from other countries – 27%.
According to Alex Cusper, Meetville service analyst, it is our perception of the homeless that limits our ability to help them. People living in capitalistic countries, like the U.S. and the UK, often perceive the homeless as lazy and self-serving, more so than countries which are more economically progressive and with greater accessibility to social services. Because of this, they are less likely to help them.
Meetville, a leading mobile dating service, regularly conducts research among its users. Millions of people from the U.S., Canada, Britain and Australia answer hundreds of questions every month. You can find the results of the poll here. If you are interested in research on a particular topic, please contact us. Any reprint of the material should be followed by clickable links to the survey.