April 16, 2017

2016 Metro Atlanta Speaks Survey Report


Each year, ARC and its community partners conduct 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 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.

Metro Atlanta Speaks covers a 13-county region and is statistically significant to the county level, as well as for the City of Atlanta.

The 2016 Metro Atlanta Speaks survey is our fourth, and we’re starting to see some fascinating trends that offer even deeper insights.

Survey Highlights

  • Transportation remains metro Atlanta’s top concern. Of those surveyed, 25 percent said transportation was the biggest problem facing the Atlanta region, the third straight year this topic topped the list of residents’ concern.
  • Support for public transit remains strong, with 92 percent of respondents saying improving public transit is “very important” or “somewhat important” to metro Atlanta’s future. And 43 percent of respondents said expanding public transit is the best long-term solution to the region’s traffic problems, while 32 percent preferred improving roads and highways.
  • Metro Atlanta’s improving economy was reflected in this year’s survey. Nearly half of respondents said job opportunities in the region are “excellent” or “good” – up from 36 percent in 2013. And just 12 percent of residents said the economy was the region’s biggest problem, compared to 24 percent in 2013.
  • However, many residents still face financial difficulties. Only half of respondents said they could pay for a $400 emergency right away, with cash, check or debit card. About 14 percent said would not be able to pay at all, while an additional 6 percent said they’d have to sell or pawn something. And nearly one in five residents said they sometimes skipped meals or reduced portion sizes because of a lack of money.
  • Crime is an increasing concern regionally. Of those surveyed, 23 percent said crime was the biggest issue facing the region, up sharply from 17 percent in 2015 and 14 percent in 2014. However, 65 percent of respondents said they feel safe in their own communities, up from 60 percent last year.
  • Metro Atlanta residents are generally upbeat about where they live, with 66 percent of respondents rating the region as a good or excellent place to live and 79 percent rating their neighborhood as good or excellent place to live. And 35 percent of those surveyed said life will be better in metro Atlanta in 3-4 years, up from 28 percent in 2013.

You can also explore the full survey results, list of questions, summary presentations and the data dashboard on the Metro Atlanta Speaks report page.

View the Report

About the 2016 survey

The 2016 survey was conducted by Kennesaw State University’s A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research. The survey asked 27 questions of more than 5,400 people across 13 counties. The survey is statistically valid for each county and the City of Atlanta, with a margin of error of 1.3 percent for the 13-county region as a whole and 4 percent to 7 percent for the individual jurisdictions.

Supporters of the 2016 Metro Atlanta Speaks survey are the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, The Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, MARTA, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the North Fulton Community Improvement District, Invest Atlanta, Partnership Gwinnett and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce.