Issaquah recently received the results of a National Research Center 2019 National Community Survey (NCS).
The results were presented at the Sept. 3 city council meeting by Autumn Monahan, assistant to the city administrator.
“These types of surveys help us understand people’s perceptions about government service delivery and their quality of life in their community,” Monahan said.
The survey was conducted in April and May of 2019 and mailed to 3,200 households, 643 of which participated.
The survey measured residents’ opinions about community characteristics, governance and participation.
Residents were asked questions about safety, mobility, the natural environment, the built environment, the economy, recreation and wellness, education and enrichment and community engagement. The city also asked about connections residents have with their neighbors and neighborhood, which sources of city information they utilize, and use of transportation options.
Some key findings were that 93 percent of participants rated Issaquah as an excellent or good place to live, 90 percent rated their overall quality of life as excellent or good, and the overall quality of city services received a score of 84 percent.
It is the third such survey for Issaquah, the city having completed the same survey in 2014 and 2017.
In total, 134 items were rated on the survey. Compared to the 2017 survey, 113 items rated similarly, two increased and 19 decreased.
The total cost was $24,165, which Monahan said was included in the city’s communications budget.
Monahan explained that the National Research Center is used by more than 600 cities throughout the nation to conduct surveys. Issaquah can compare with those cities, and they also received a report on the local regional demographic.
“The added value of using this tool is that we can compare Issaquah’s results with those of the 600 throughout the country,” she said. “We also got a report on our local demographic. NCS worked with us to pick a certain number of communities that are on the West Coast that are similar to Issaquah so we could kind of look at what are some similarities to other similar sized cities in our area.”
Issaquah scored higher than the national benchmark on overall appearance, paths and walking trails, overall natural environment, overall economic health, preventative health services, kindergarten through 12th-grade education, bus or transit services, drinking water, how many people used public transportation, and on being a positive place to raise children.
Issaquah scored lower than the benchmark for overall ease of travel, travel by car, traffic flow, cost of living, affordable quality housing, how many people contacted Issaquah employees, how many people participated in religious or spiritual activity, adult education, and how many people read or watched local news.
Participants reported their main sources for city information are the city website, emails and social media, and word of mouth.
Monahan reported the key conclusions are that residents continue to rate their quality of life positively, safety remains a priority, mobility remains a significant concern, and there is a clear opportunity to increase community engagement.
Monahan said some of the next steps after receiving the results will be to share them with the community, conduct further in-depth analysis within specific city departments, and use these in the development of success measures for the city’s strategic plan.