Survey Shows What Americans Want in their Communities

Survey Shows What Americans Want in their Communities
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A new survey by the Urban Land Institute, America in 2015, explores the latest on what Americans desire in their communities. The survey asked a representative sample of 1,200 Americans what they preferred when it comes to transportation, housing and neighborhood characteristics. America in 2015 is a companion publication to America in 2013, which also looked at community preferences that year. America in 2015 takes a special look at Americans' views on neighborhood characteristics related to health, such as access to green space, healthy food, and a clean environment. The survey reveals that, overall, Americans are satisfied with their current communities, but also highlighted pockets of discontent among more disadvantaged populations. Young people, renters, lower-income residents, and minorities all register more dissatisfaction with existing neighborhood qualities than other groups, and express more interest in improving public amenities and services.

Major findings related to community:

  • 87 percent of Americans are satisfied with their community's quality of life, 88 percent are satisfied with their current home, and 81 percent are satisfied with their housing options. However, renters are less satisfied than owners.
  • 42 percent of people would like to live in a rural area or small-town.
  • 78 percent of people would rather live in a community among people of a mix of ages
  • 66 percent of people want to live among an ethnically diverse community
  • Millennials are the least-satisfied with their communities and housing: 15% are dissatisfied with their homes, 15 percent are dissatisfied with their community's quality of life, and 21 percent are dissatisfied with their housing options

Major findings related to transportation and health:

  • 87 percent of people say the quality of the environment in their community is a priority.
  • 50 percent of Americans says the walkability of a neighborhood is a priority for them.
  • 32 percent say access to public transit is a priority for them, especially for low-income residents.
  • Access to fresh, healthy food is a priority for almost three quarters of Americans
  • More than half of Americans want to live somewhere where they do not need to use a car very often.

Major findings related to homeownership:

  • 48 percent of Americans and 78 percent of Millennials say they are likely to move in the next 5 years
  • Almost three quarters of Americans say that homeownership is a good investment for them
  • Elderly Americans are the most likely to say they are not sure they will be able to afford the home they want in the future.
  • Among those who are considering moving in the next 5 years, 23 percent expect to move to a smaller home.
  • Compared to 2013, more Americans in 2015 said they are interested in living in town homes or duplexes.