Metro Atlanta Speaks Survey

Metro Atlanta Speaks Survey Offers a Snapshot of Region’s Top Concerns

Each year, ARC conducts the Metro Atlanta Speaks public opinion survey to take the pulse of metro Atlanta residents and help guide the region’s planning and decision-making.

The survey, which began in 2013, is the largest of its kind in the Atlanta region. It offers a snapshot of residents’ views on a range of critical issues such as transportation, the economy, education, aging, and neighborhood quality of life. In 2021, Metro Atlanta Speaks covers a 11-county region and is statistically significant to the county level, as well as for the City of Atlanta.

The 2021 survey offered some fresh insights into residents’ view on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, race relations, and public safety.

Metro Atlanta Speaks 2021

For First Time, Crime Tops List of Respondents’ Concerns

Crime is residents’ top perceived issue facing metro Atlanta, according to the 2021 Metro Atlanta Speaks survey, released today by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

One in three respondents said crime is the biggest challenge facing metro Atlanta, up from 16% in the 2020 survey. Public health, last year’s top concern, was a distant second at 13%, followed by the economy at 12%.

The survey was conducted amid an increase in violent crime across the region and the U.S., though the level of crime remains below levels seen in the 1980s and 90s.

Continued Impact of COVD-19

The 2021 Metro Atlanta Speaks survey included several questions related to the ongoing COVID pandemic and its impact on our population:

  • More than half of respondents said they felt “very safe” or “moderately safe” returning to normal activities…while just 13% said they felt “very unsafe.”
  • One in six residents, or 17%, said they won’t get the coronavirus vaccine.
  • One in three residents, or 33%, said they are working at home all or most of the time, while another 21% did so occasionally. Those figures are up from the findings of the 2020 survey.
  • Some residents continue to struggle as the pandemic wears on. Nearly one in four said they have received food assistance from a food pantry or church in the past year, an increase from a year ago.
  • And 17 percent – or on in six – are “not confident” or only “slightly confident” about their ability to make their next rent or mortgage payment.

Insights into Views on Race Relations

The 2021 survey also included questions designed to gauge public opinion on a range of issues related to race and equity.

  • Two out of three respondents said high levels of income inequality have a negative impact on the economy.
  • And more than three in four said ensuring racial equity is essential to maximizing economic growth in our region.
  • In answer to a new question this year, about three in four said increasing the minimum wage would be good for the economy.
  • And when asked what option could best help attract and retain skilled workers, the top responses were creating more job training opportunities followed by increasing affordable housing options.

Survey Resources

About the 2021 Survey

The 2021 survey, conducted by Kennesaw State University’s A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research, asked questions of 4,800 people across 11 counties about key quality-of-life issues across August and September 2021.

Survey results are statistically valid for each of those 11 counties and the city of Atlanta, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5% for the 11-county region as a whole and plus or minus 3.8% to 5% for the individual jurisdictions.

Funding for the 2021 survey came from the Federal CARES Act, AARP, and the Atlanta Regional Commission.