Rating the Quality of Community
Residents rank their communities highest on city parks, with 78 percent rating them good or excellent, up from 73 percent last year and a statistically significant improvement. At 66 percent, public K-12 education jumped to second in resident rankings, up from fifth in 2018.
Public safety and the economy followed next, with 64 percent and 63 percent of respondents, respectively, rating their community positively on these issues. However, fewer than half of residents — 48 percent — rate their community's transportation as good or excellent. Satisfaction tends to increase with age, income and education across all issues, except for transportation. Young adults (18-24 years) experienced a decline in the proportion rating their community’s economy positively, from 69 percent in 2018 to 59 percent in 2019, though this did not quite rise to the level of statistical significance.
Strong racial disparities are also evident across nearly all issues in a manner completely consistent with overall quality of life ratings, suggesting that community performance is strongly correlated with quality of life. Other than transportation, a consistent racial ordering emerges, with a higher percentage of whites rating their community’s performance as good or excellent than Latinos, Asians and other minorities, and a higher percentage of Latinos and Asians giving their community a positive rating than blacks. The difference between how whites and blacks rate their community is statistically significant.
The range of these disparities narrowed in the last year, however, as the perceptions of blacks generally improved while those of whites remained stable. This was especially true for city parks and the economy, where the respondents rating them good or excellent increased from 43 percent to 57 percent and from 27 percent to 38 percent, respectively. Unfortunately, Latino perceptions on community issues generally worsened, especially for two the three most important to quality of life, public safety and the economy, where the declines were statistically significant.