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Resident Survey Shows Strong Support For Montgomery County As Desirable Place To Live, Gives High Marks To County Services

For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 22, 2018

County Executive Ike Leggett today released an independent survey commissioned by the County that shows residents rating Montgomery County as a desirable place to live, raise children, work, and enjoy a good quality of life. The survey gives high marks to most County services while indicating areas for improvement in affordable housing, cost of living, and traffic congestion.

“Despite the Great Recession and numerous other shutdowns, sequestrations, and extreme weather between 2009 and now, I am proud that the County scores just as high as or even better than in our last survey,” said County Executive Leggett. “This survey shows us that we are doing lots of things right – and demonstrates those areas we need to keep working on.”

The survey was conducted by the Boulder, Colorado-based National Research Center which has done hundreds of similar surveys for jurisdictions of all sizes around the nation and did the County’s 2007 and 2009 surveys.

The survey was conducted in two phases:

First, a random sample of 5,000 Montgomery County households were mailed the survey in late September and early October, 2017. A total of 1,075 completed it, providing an overall response rate of 22%.

Next, the County also offered all residents the opportunity to take the survey online, providing a supplemental nonrandom, nonscientific, self-selected sample. This “opt-in” web-only survey was open from November 1-15, 2017 and publicized through a variety of channels, yielding 12,698 responses. On average, this survey rated the County slightly lower than the representative sample.

The responses are published and analyzed in a series of reports at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/survey2017. These reports include: comparisons between the 2017 responses and the prior two surveys (2007 and 2009); responses broken out by multiple demographic subgroups (years of residence, age, race/ethnicity, and household income); and cross-tabulation by Council Districts and by areas served by the County’s five Regional Service Centers. The reports also compare Montgomery County’s results to other communities across America, provide technical appendices, and separately convey the online supplemental “opt-in” responses.

Highlights (from the representative sample) include

  • About 4 out of 5 residents rate Montgomery County positively on all general Community Characteristics, except "Montgomery County as a place to retire":

 

% Rating Positively (excellent/good)

2009

2017

The overall quality of life in Montgomery County

82%

82%

Overall image or reputation of Montgomery County

83%

80%

Montgomery County as a place to live

88%

88%

Your neighborhood as a place to live

81%

82%

Montgomery County as a place to raise children

86%

84%

Montgomery County as a place to retire

48%

42%

Overall appearance of Montgomery County

74%

79%

  • Ratings related to public safety are high (overall feeling of safety = 81% positive; feeling safe in your neighborhood during the day = 93% positive), while ratings related to mobility and housing are lower (overall ease of getting to places you usually have to visit = 60% positive; availability of affordable quality housing = 27% positive). Traffic flow on major streets was rated 26% positive and travel by car and by public transportation were rated 47% and 45% positive, respectively.
  • Ratings around “Economy” do well, with the exception of Cost of Living (21% positive)
  • “Education and Enrichment” areas rate well with the exception of affordable quality childcare/preschool (49% positive)
  • 81% of respondents rate the quality of services provided by the County positively
  • Ratings for the overall direction that Montgomery County is taking improved from 53% in 2009 to 58% in 2017
  • While 55% of respondents feel there is a "sense of community" in Montgomery County, 87% would recommend living here and 83% plan to remain here for the next five years
  • Positive ratings for Police Services, Fire Services, and Ambulance Services all increased from 2009 to 2017 (police: 79% to 85%, fire: 93% to 95%, ambulance: 90% to 94%)

The survey gave respondents the opportunity to rank various County Government priorities on a scale of 1-4. Note that 1 = Essential/High effort sought and 4 = Not at all important/No effort sought.

While the list of priorities in order of average respondent priority level from highest to lowest shows public safety, traffic, and education at the top, the ratings indicate that all categories are essentially high priorities for County residents.

Category

Priority

(1 is highest, 4 is lowest)

Crime

1.39

Traffic

1.43

Public Schools (K-12)

1.43

Overall feeling of safety

1.53

Social services for those in need

1.61

The Environment

1.61

Economic Health

1.64

Overall ease of getting to places

1.68

Affordable Housing

1.70

Jobs and business growth

1.71

Taxes

1.73

Opportunities for education and enrichment

1.77

Quality of overall natural environment

1.78

Quality of life areas (rec, lib, arts and culture)

1.79

The pace of growth

1.87

Health and wellness opportunities

1.87

Overall "built environment"

1.88

Sense of Community

2.03


Another question on the survey solicited residents’ attitudes on County taxes and services:

  • 36 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with the current level of taxes and services
  • 34 percent felt they paid too much for the services they received10 percent said they were willing to accept service reductions if it meant lower taxes
  • 8 percent said they were willing to pay more in taxes to get more services
  • 12 percent had no preference or preferred “other”

These results regarding taxes and services are similar to responses in the 2009 survey.

Click here to see the 2017 survey reports in detail, as well as the 2007 and 2009 surveys.

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Release ID: 18-447
Media Contact: Patrick Lacefield 240-777-6528