Skip to main content

Press Releases

Resident Survey Shows Continued Strong and Growing Support for Montgomery County as a Place to Live

For Immediate Release: Monday, December 16, 2019

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has released an independent survey commissioned by the County that shows residents rating Montgomery County with an increasingly positive feeling over the past 12 years 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 significant room for improvement in categories of a place to retire, affordable housing, affordable child care/preschool, traffic congestion, and public transportation.

“The results of the 2019 Montgomery County Resident Survey clearly illustrate two overwhelming perspectives: more people than ever feel that the quality of life in our County continues to improve and that this is a place people want to live,” said Marc Elrich. “The survey shows 85 percent of respondents feel positively about the quality of life in the County, which is a significant increase of six percentage points over the 2007 survey. More specifically, 86 percent of respondents believe this is a great place to raise children, which also is a significant increase from 2007, and people in our County feel safe. Yes, some questions in the survey show where we must continue to make improvements, and our government will be strongly addressing those concerns. But the survey definitely says we are providing a way of life that our residents desire and I pledge to keep us heading in that direction.”

The 39-question survey asked residents age 18 or older to rate how they feel about the quality of life; County services; use of existing amenities and facilities; whether they take advantage of County programs; their impression of County employees; how well the County communicates with its residents; and various household practices such as recycling. This biannual survey was last conducted by the County in 2017.

A total of 954 households, of the 5,000 that were mailed the survey, completed it, providing an overall response rate of 20 percent.

The responses are published and analyzed in a series of reports at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/OPI/survey2019.html. These reports include: comparisons between the 2019 responses and the prior three surveys (2007, 2009, and 2017); 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 four of five residents rate Montgomery County positively on all general community characteristics, except "Montgomery County as a place to retire":

Category

% Rating Positively (excellent/good)

2007

2009

2017

2019

The overall quality of life in Montgomery County

79%

82%

82%

85%

Overall image or reputation of Montgomery County

84%

83%

80%

84%

Montgomery County as a place to live

86%

88%

88%

90%

Your neighborhood as a place to live

82%

81%

82%

87%

Montgomery County as a place to raise children

81%

86%

84%

86%

Sense of Community

59%

62%

55%

60%

Recommend living in Montgomery County to someone who asks

N/A

89%

87%

88%

Montgomery County as a place to retire

41%

48%

42%

43%

Overall appearance of Montgomery County

74%

74%

79%

81%

Overall feeling of safety in Montgomery County

N/A

N/A

81%

84%

Overall ease of getting to the places you usually have to visit

N/A

N/A

60%

67%

Ease of travel by public transportation

60%

59%

45%

51%

Traffic flow on major streets

N/A

N/A

26%

32%

Cleanliness of Montgomery County

N/A

N/A

76%

78%

Availability of affordable quality housing

15%

23%

27%

25%

Overall economic health of Montgomery County

N/A

N/A

78%

78%

K-12 Education

81%

82%

82%

82%

Availability of affordable quality child care/preschool

21%

24%

49%

44%

Overall quality of services provided

77%

77%

81%

84%

Overall customer service by MCG employees

71%

76%

70%

77%

The value of services for the taxes paid

54%

50%

49%

57%

The overall direction that Montgomery County is taking

52%

53%

58%

57%

Overall confidence in Montgomery County government

N/A

N/A

57%

62%

  • Ratings related to public safety remain high and increased slightly from the 2017 survey (overall feeling of safety = 84 percent positive; feeling safe in your neighborhood during the day = 94 percent positive), along with mobility which also realized an upward trend (overall ease of getting to places you usually have to visit = 67 percent positive, up 7 percent); but the availability of affordable quality housing took a 2 percent dip to 25 percent positive). Traffic flow on major streets was rated 32 percent positive (up 6 percent from 2017) and travel by car and by public transportation were rated 48 percent and 51 percent positive, respectively.
  • Ratings around “Economy” do well, with the exception of Cost of Living (22 percent positive)
  • “Education and Enrichment” areas rate well (85 percent positive) with the exception of affordable quality childcare/preschool (44 percent positive)
  • Eighty-four percent of respondents rate the quality of services provided by the County positively
  • While 60 percent (a 5 percent increase) of respondents feel there is a "sense of community" in Montgomery County, 88 percent would recommend living here and 84 percent plan to remain here for the next five years – a slight increase in both areas.
  • The positive rating for the County’s Fire Services rose (95 to 96 percent) and stayed the same for Ambulance Services (94 percent); but Police Services saw a slight drop (85 to 84 percent) from 2017 to 2019.

Respondents were asked to indicate if the following areas have gotten better, worse, or stayed the same over the past two years:

 

Category

Much better

Somewhat better

Stayed about the same

Somewhat worse

Much worse

Affordable Housing

5%

9%

38%

28%

20%

Crime

6%

18%

53%

17%

6%

The environment

8%

24%

55%

11%

2%

The pace of growth

9%

25%

38%

18%

9%

Public schools (K-12)

12%

25%

42%

15%

5%

Social services for those in need

10%

23%

51%

12%

4%

Traffic

3%

9%

26%

34%

28%

Job growth

6%

25%

47%

17%

5%

Business growth

7%

32%

43%

12%

5%

Quality of life opportunities (recreation, libraries, arts and culture)

11%

34%

53%

2%

0%

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

  • Forty-three percent of respondents said they were satisfied with the current level of taxes and services
  • Thirty-three percent felt they paid too much for the services they received, and 10 percent said they were willing to accept service reductions if it meant lower taxes
  • Twelve percent said they were willing to pay more in taxes to get more services

The results regarding taxes and services are close to responses in the 2017 survey.

To generate an unbiased sample, the survey was sent to 5,000 randomly selected households, in June 2019, with instructions in English, Spanish and Chinese, plus abbreviated guidance in French, Amharic, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Persian and Russian.

Residents who did not receive the questionnaire in the mail were invited and encouraged to participate online and were able to do so in English, Spanish, or Chinese. The “opt-in” survey for all County residents provided an opportunity for everyone to voice their opinions and produces additional data for separate analysis.

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, 2009, and 2017 surveys. There was a break in service between the 2009 and 2017 surveys due to budget constraints.

Click here to see the 2019 survey reports in detail, as well as the 2007, 2009, and 2017 surveys.

# # #

Media Contact: 

Release ID: 19-410
Media Contact: Barry Hudson  240-777-652