Now in its sixth year, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Metro Atlanta Speaks survey offers a snapshot of residents’ viewpoints on the area’s top challenges, local assets and what matters most to them. The survey polls residents from 13 metro counties on questions about transportation, the economy, amenities and quality of life, civic engagement and the future of the region. In 2018, the survey also introduced a series of questions exploring housing and affordability. The survey is structured and conducted such that its results are generalizable (or “statistically significant”) at the regional and county level — in other words, it’s possible to say “residents of Rockdale County believe” or “metro-area residents say” based on survey results.
This year’s survey marks the fifth year in a row in which metro residents cite transportation as the region’s No. 1 concern, followed by crime, with education coming in at a distant third. Nearly half of survey respondents said that public transit expansion is the best long-term traffic solution, and 50 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to pay more in taxes to fund expanded regional public transit. When it comes to money, about a quarter of metro residents say they would have to borrow money, sell or pawn something, or just not be able to pay for an unexpected $400 expense. And as for housing costs, many of us are overpaying due to the quality of location and neighborhood in addition to a dearth of affordable options.
Results are broken down by: county, race/ethnicity, gender, age, income, educational attainment, the presence of children in the house, employment status, years in metro Atlanta, living north or south of I-20, and renters versus owners. Visit ARC’s interactive Metro Atlanta Speaks data dashboard to see complete survey results and examine how responses vary across time and among these different groups.