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 2020, Metro Atlanta Speaks covers a 10-county region and is statistically significant to the county level, as well as for the City of Atlanta.

The 2020 survey offered some fresh insights on the stark effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as insights into the state of race relations in metro Atlanta—a topic that drew heightened attention during this year’s demonstrations.

The Pandemic’s Acute Impact on Employment

  • One in four workers indicated that they had been laid-off, terminated, or furloughed due to the COVID-19 virus.
  • Nearly half — 45% — of those who were employed before the pandemic had seen their hours reduced, wages cut, or had needed to quit their jobs for safety reasons due to the pandemic.
  • One-third of workers said they had worked from home as a result of the pandemic.

Heightened Housing, Hunger, and Economic Concerns

  • Nearly 1 in 5 respondents (18%) said they received help from a food bank since March.
  • And 1 in 6 respondents said they were not at all or only slightly confident in their ability to make their next mortgage or rent payment.
  • If faced with a $400 emergency expense, 27% of respondents would have to borrow money, sell or pawn something, be unable to pay right now—or did not know what they would do.

Top Regional Issues: Public Health, Crime, and Economy

  • When asked to name the biggest problem facing the region, 17% of respondents said public health — that’s up from 7% in 2019.
  • Crime came in second, at 16%, with the economy third, at 15% — up from 7% in 2019.

Insights on Race Relations in Metro Atlanta

This year’s survey also shed light on the state of race relations in metro Atlanta, a topic that drew heightened attention during the summer’s demonstrations.

  • Nearly 12% of survey respondents named race relations as the region’s biggest concern, compared to just 4% in 2019.
  • On a new question this year, more than three-quarters of respondents (77%) either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “Discrimination against Black people in the United States is a serious problem.”

Survey Resources

About the 2020 Survey

The 2020 survey, conducted by Kennesaw State University’s A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research, asked questions of 4,400 people across 10 counties about key quality-of-life issues.  Survey results are statistically valid for each of those 10 counties and the city of Atlanta, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5% for the 10-county region as a whole and plus or minus 3.8% to 5% for the individual jurisdictions.