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MAS Releases Third Annual MAS Survey on Livability

New Yorkers see employment concerns, public safety, housing and the cost of living as the greatest challenges to living happily in New York City, according to the 2012 MAS Survey on Livability, which was released this morning at the MAS Summit for New York City and reported in The New York Times.

While life in the Big Apple is generally good, say 84% of those polled, more than one fifth of New Yorkers are worried about employment (22%) and safety (21%) – slightly more than those who are concerned about that perennial source of anxiety among New Yorkers: housing (19%).

The MAS Survey on Livability, conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion and funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, asks New Yorkers what they think about their city.

MAS President Vin Cipolla said, “The MAS Survey on Livability is a roadmap for how to build a better city. We hope it precipitates discussions, starting with this year’s MAS Summit for New York City, among everyone in the public and private sectors working to make this amazing city ever more vibrant and livable for all New Yorkers.”

The survey questions focused on overall satisfaction with life in New York; whether individual neighborhoods provide adequate access to public transportation and affordable housing and offer sufficient community and cultural amenities like libraries, parks, museums and theaters; and what New Yorkers think the city should invest in going forward.

A report of the major findings is available for download, but some survey highlights include:

  • If they had to choose between more parks and green space for their neighborhoods and more housing, stores or businesses, New Yorkers would pick the former (34%) over the others (23% for more housing and 16% for new retail).
  • 76% of New Yorkers think their neighborhoods are good places to raise children, with the Bronx showing the greatest year-to-year positive trend (67% vs. 63% in 2011 and 55% in 2010).
  • Only 21% of Bronx residents and 10% of Staten Island residents do not feel safe walking in their neighborhood.
  • New Yorkers continue to be optimistic about the future of New York, with an overall increase in the percentage of residents – 81% (an increase of 5% from last year) –describing themselves as very optimistic or optimistic.
  • Nearly half of New Yorkers (48%) think their neighborhoods have insufficient opportunities to experience the arts, with residents of the Bronx (55%) and Queens (60%) feeling much less satisfied than those living in Manhattan (65% are very pleased with their cultural options).
  • The majority of New Yorkers (58%) think major local real estate projects are important because they create jobs and new retail opportunities. Roughly one third (32%) think such development is bad because it is disruptive and closes local stores. Most New Yorkers (67%) think that there is a good mix of older buildings and new development

Download the report of the survey’s major findings and the data banners. Vin Cipolla’s survey presentation is viewable below.

Download Presentation

MAS is grateful to The Rockefeller Foundation for its ongoing support of this important initiative and to New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs for its support of the survey questions related to the arts.