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  Good News and Bad News - the 2013 Community Survey
August 1, 2013

One of the agenda items we did not get to on July 30 was the presentation of the Biannual National Citizen Survey. See the links below for the staff summary and individual parts of the survey report.

RECEIVE a presentation and report from the National Research Center on the City of Richmond's 2013 Community Survey results, and PROVIDE direction to staff as appropriate - City Manager's Office (Bill Lindsay/LaShonda White 620-6512). This item was continued from the July 23, 2013, meeting.


The results from the 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 surveys can be found on the City’s website at http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=1871.

There is good news and bad news. The good news is that the community rated almost every aspect of Richmond as improved, and that improvement has been continuing steadily since the first survey In 2007. Typically, there was a significant bump from 2011 to 2013. For example, the perception of the “Overall Quality of Life” in Richmond has improved from 17% “good” or “excellent” in 2007 to 30% in 2013, taking a significant bump from 21% in 2011 to 30% in 2013.

There were only a few areas where ratings fell, and the reasons are unclear. For example, “Code Enforcement” dropped form 19% “good” or “excellent” in 2011 to 15% in 2013. This may be a statistical anomaly, or it may indicate a need for improvement.

The bad news, and perhaps the most puzzling part of the survey report is the Benchmark Report, which compares Richmond’s scores against those of the approximately 500 other cities that use the almost identical survey. In almost every category, the way Richmond rated itself was at or near the bottom compared to others. For example, Richmond rated itself 382 of 383 jurisdictions surveyed in “overall quality of life.” In “sense of community,” Richmond rated itself dead last. This remarkably “low self-esteem,” or whatever you want to call it is consistent with previous years, although improving slightly in some categories.

The bottom line: things are getting a lot better in Richmond, but overall, people who live here still think it really sucks.

Hopeful but at the same time mighty discouraging.