Vancouver community survey shows satisfaction, areas for improvement

At a recent online retreat, Vancouver City Council received an overview of the results of a community survey conducted in early 2020, before the COVID-19 outbreak. The city conducts a community survey every two to three years. 

The survey results show that residents are generally satisfied with livability, safety and the public services provided by the city. However, overall satisfaction levels dropped when compared to the 2017 survey results, in addition to areas such as delivering services efficiently, keeping citizens informed, managing the public’s money, and focusing on the priorities that matter most to residents. 

“The number of residents who feel that Vancouver is a good place to live remains very high, even compared to the 2017 survey results, which is encouraging,” said Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes. “Although we’ve made some gains, there is still work to be done to meet our residents’ expectations in several other key areas as we strive to make Vancouver one of the most welcoming, safe, prosperous and vibrant cities in the state.” 

The full survey report is available online at www.cityofvancouver.us/2020CommunitySurvey. Key findings include:

  • 70% of respondents who had an opinion rated the overall livability of Vancouver as excellent or very good
  • The things residents said they liked best about living in Vancouver included recreational opportunities, social offerings (events, restaurants, things to do), safety, basic services and education.
  • 67% of respondents who had an opinion said they believe the City of Vancouver is doing an excellent or good job delivering services efficiently.
  • Residents said the five most important city government services or functions were maintaining streets, fire and emergency medical services, police services, managing traffic flow and protecting our natural environment.
  • The five least important city government services or functions were enforcing city codes related to property maintenance, zoning and land use, community events, support for arts and culture, and recreation classes and programs.
  • The five city government services or functions that residents were the most satisfied with were fire and emergency medical services, recycling and garbage collection, police services, protecting our natural environment and parks maintenance.
  • The five city government services or functions that residents were the least satisfied with were support for neighborhoods, managing traffic flow, maintaining streets, enforcing city codes related to property maintenance and zoning and land use.
  • Residents indicated the highest priorities for city funding should be:
    • Fire and emergency services (96% indicating very high or high priority)
    • Police services (94% indicating very high or high priority)
    • Maintaining streets and medians (92% indicating very high or high priority)
    • Maintaining sidewalks (87% indicating very high or high priority)

The City of Vancouver hired ETC Institute, a market research and public opinion survey company based in Kansas, to administer this year’s survey. The ETC Institute surveyed a random selection of 454 Vancouver residents by mail and online with a 95% level of confidence and a precision of at least +/- 4.6%.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.