This week’s Friday Factday provides a preview of the results from this year’s Metro Atlanta Speaks survey. Each year, ARC and its community partners conduct the Metro Atlanta Speaks public opinion survey to take the pulse of metro Atlanta residents and help guide the region’s planning and decision-making. The survey, which began in 2013, is the largest of its kind in the Atlanta region. It offers a snapshot of residents’ views on a range of critical issues, such as transportation, the economy, education, aging and neighborhood quality of life.
Highlights from this year’s survey can be found below. The full report can be accessed via a PDF download link here.
And, stay tuned for the November Regional Snapshot (coming next week), which will provide more detailed insights on survey results.
- Transportation remains metro Atlanta’s top concern. Of those surveyed, 27 percent said transportation was the biggest problem facing the Atlanta region, the fourth straight year this topic topped the list of residents’ concern.
- Residents overwhelming see public transit as important to the region. 94 percent of respondents say that improving public transit is “very important” or “somewhat important” to metro Atlanta’s future. 49 percent of respondents said expanding public transit is the best long-term solution to the region’s traffic problems– followed by 27 percent that preferred improving roads and highways.
- Significant support exists for funding (more) transit. To a new question this year, 51 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to pay more in taxes to fund expanded regional public transit. Support for such is strongest in Gwinnett and Fulton counties, at 56 percent of respondents.
- Metro Atlanta’s improving economy continues to be reflected in the survey. More than half of respondents said job opportunities in the region are “excellent” or “good” – up from 36 percent in 2013. And just 9 percent of residents said the economy was the region’s biggest problem, compared to 24 percent in 2013.
- However, many residents still face financial difficulties. Just over half of respondents said they could pay for a $400 emergency right away, with cash, check or debit card, but over 14 percent said would not be able to pay at all, with an additional 6 percent saying they’d have to sell or pawn something. And nearly one in five residents said they sometimes skipped meals or reduced portion sizes because of a lack of money.
- Crime remains a concern regionally, though to a lesser extent than last year. Of those surveyed, 17 percent said crime was the biggest issue facing the region, down from 23 percent in 2016. However, only 58 percent of respondents said they feel safe in their own communities, down from 65 percent last year.
- Metro Atlanta residents are generally upbeat about where they live, with 72 percent of respondents wishing to stay in metro Atlanta, and nearly half of respondents rating metro Atlanta as an “excellent” or “good” place to raise kids. Of those surveyed, 30 percent said life will be better in metro Atlanta in 3-4 years, down slightly from 35 percent last year, yet up from 28 percent in 2013.