Survey: Residents content with life in Las Vegas despite displeasure with schools

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Wade Vandervort

A family is seen eating food from the 16th annual Taste and Sounds of Soul Festival at the Fremont Street Experience, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017.

Fri, Mar 3, 2017 (2 a.m.)

Las Vegas is a great place to live.

If you just nodded your head in agreement, you are not alone. According to a community survey commissioned by the city, a large majority of residents agree with that statement to some degree. But they are also concerned about the quality of public schools and raising a family here.

Survey takers were asked to rate their agreement with the statement “The city is a great place to live” on a scale from one to 10, with the latter meaning “strongly agree.” Thirty-two percent rated their agreement at a nine or 10; 36 percent chose a seven or eight; and 21 percent selected a five or six. Only 12 percent disagreed with the statement by choosing the number four or lower.

ETC Institute, a market research firm based in Kansas City, Kan., administered the survey in November and December. Senior Product Manager Jason Morado presented the City Council with a summary of the findings at its meeting Wednesday. The six-page survey was completed by 944 residents, including more than 150 per ward. According to Morado, all demographic groups were well represented, leading to a confidence level of 95 percent.

The survey asked residents to rate their satisfaction with the current quality of services and choose which categories of city services they believe should take priority. ETC Institute has conducted this survey annually since 2012.

The top three priorities have remained constant since then — economic development (jobs), maintenance of city streets, and Metro Police services. Other areas residents prioritized as important to citizens include adequate street lighting, crime prevention and services for the homeless.

When asked to rate their satisfaction with the overall quality of services provided by the city, 70 percent responded they were “very satisfied” or “satisfied.” Only 4 percent chose “dissatisfied.” The remaining 27 percent responded neutrally.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman said the council should see the findings as a good sign and use the data to make better informed decisions on funding and priority.

Las Vegas compares favorably to other large U.S. cities when it comes to overall satisfaction. The national average is 45 percent satisfied compared to our 70 percent.

When broken down further, Las Vegas rated above average in 35 of 58 surveyed areas.

Fire services, sewer services and emergency medical services rated particularly well, with a respective 49, 45 and 47 percent of respondents saying they were “very satisfied” with these services and a further 42, 41 and 39 percent saying they were “satisfied.”

Since ETC began the survey, satisfaction in economic development, overall quality of police services, city sewer and city communication efforts have all increased. On the flip side, satisfaction with before- or after-school programs, facility and park rentals, walking or bicycle paths, and adequate street lighting have decreased.

Also on the negative side, Las Vegans are less satisfied with our public schools than peer cities. Only 23 percent of locals expressed satisfaction with public schools. The national average is 32 percent.

Similarly, only 34 percent of respondents locally said they thought of Las Vegas as “a place to raise children.” Nationally, 66 percent of people believe their large cities are.

Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian said the two findings are likely related.

Councilwoman Bob Coffin said he would like to see a data drilldown on the negative opinions about public schools.

“That is a very controversial subject,” he said. “A lot of people have an opinion without much fact.”

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