Atlanta — Oct 27, 2023
Crime and the economy are the Atlanta region’s top concerns, according to the 2023 Metro Atlanta Speaks public opinion survey, released today by the Atlanta Regional Commission.
When asked about the biggest challenge facing metro Atlanta, 27% of the respondents said crime, followed by the economy at 24% and transportation at 11%.
Even though crime remains top of mind for metro Atlanta residents, more than 2 out of 3 respondents said they feel safe walking in their neighborhoods at night. Crime was also the region’s top concern in 2021, when the last survey was conducted.
ARC conducts the Metro Atlanta Speaks survey to gather key insights into quality-of-life issues such as transportation, the economy, and housing. Highlights of this year’s survey include:
- Housing affordability is a challenge for many: Six of 10 respondents said they could not afford to move to another house or apartment in their current neighborhood. Nearly as many said they could not afford to move anywhere in the metro Atlanta area.
- Residents are concerned about how technology may impact the workplace: More than 75% of respondents believe “too many” workers will lose their jobs to automation or artificial intelligence.
- Support for public transit remains strong: About 90 percent of respondents feel an improved public transit system is either “very important” or “somewhat important” to the future of metro Atlanta. However, less than half said they’d pay more taxes to fund transit improvements.
- Mixed views on climate change: Nearly half of respondents believe that climate change is a “major threat” to our region, while a third feel it will be a “minor threat.” Those figures rise when respondents are asked about the threat climate change poses globally.
- Environmental concerns spark interest in electric vehicles: Nearly 1 out of 3 respondents said they plan to buy an electric vehicle in the next 5 years. About half cited the environment as the primary reason doing so.
“We’ve known that electric vehicles are the future of the auto industry, but this year’s Metro Atlanta Speaks survey suggests that this future may be just around the corner for the Atlanta region,” said ARC Executive Director & CEO Anna Roach. “It’s clear that our region must make the investments needed to help with this historic transformation.”
Of the respondents who said they did not plan to purchase an EV in the next five years, 28% said cost was the most important reason, followed by inconvenience of charging the vehicle (25%) and reliability (15.5%).
The survey also found that residents are more pessimistic about the future than they have been since ARC began administering Metro Atlanta Speaks in 2013. When asked what living conditions would be like in 3-4 years, 36.5% said it would be worse, 35% said about the same, and 25% said it would be better, down from 32% in August 2020 when the pandemic was in full swing.
“Residents in metro Atlanta, like the rest of the country, have been through a lot in the past few years,” said Mike Carnathan, Senior Manager, Research and Analytics at ARC. “The pandemic upended our lives. Inflation has taken a toll on people’s pocketbooks, and housing prices have soared.”
The hybrid phone and online 2023 survey, administered by Kennesaw State University’s A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research, asked questions of 4,852 adult residents across 11 counties in the metro Atlanta region this past August. Survey results are statistically significant 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.
For additional information about the 2023 survey, including county level results, please visit atlantaregional.org/metroatlantaspeaks.
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the official planning agency for the 11-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 74 other cities. The Atlanta Regional Commission’s mission is to foster thriving communities for all within the Atlanta region through collaborative, data-informed planning and investments.
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