June 20, 2006
New York City tops in courtesy, says Reader’s Digest
By Ellen Wulfhorst
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York, despite a reputation as a
fast-moving, tough-talking town, ranked as the world's most
polite major city, according to a survey released on Tuesday.
best in three tests of courtesy, according to the survey by
Reporters for the magazine conducted a "door test," to see
who would hold open a door, a "document drop" to see who would
help pick up dropped papers and a "service test" to measure if
salesclerks said thank you for a purchase.
Four out of five New Yorkers passed the courtesy tests, the
"It certainly contradicts the popular stereotype that a lot
of people have about New York," said Conrad Kiechel,
international editorial director for the Pleasantville,
Specifically, 90 percent of New Yorkers passed the door
test, 55 percent passed the document drop and 19 out of 20
clerks passed the service test.
Coming in a close second was Zurich at 77 percent, Toronto
at 70 percent, and Berlin, Sao Paulo and Zagreb, Croatia, all
with 68 percent.
Following down the list were Auckland, Warsaw, Mexico City,
Stockholm, Budapest, Madrid, Prague, Vienna, Buenos Aires,
Johannesburg, Lisbon, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Helsinki,
Manila, Milan, Sydney, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Ljubljana, Jakarta,
Taipei, Moscow, Singapore, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Bucharest and
The more than 2,000 tests of behavior showed that people
under 40 were more courteous than those over 40, men were more
polite to other men and women were more polite to other women.
The region that most lacked courtesy was Asia, where eight
out of nine cities tested finished in the bottom 11, Reader's
It conducted the tests in the most populous cities in 35
nations worldwide from late February to mid-March.
People around the world tended to offer the same
explanation for their polite behavior, Kiechel said.
"People said they were polite because they had been brought
up to be that way," he said.
The study is published in Reader's Digest's July issue of
its 50 editions worldwide.