New report shows quality of life for Utahns in decline

June 29, 2022 (KSL News Radio)

The Utah Foundation released a report on Wednesday that indicated a decrease in the quality of life for Utah residents.

The report, titled: “The 2022 Utah Community Quality of Life Index: Is a Booming Economy Making Life Better?” focused on community quality of life.

The Utah Foundation conducts the survey yearly, taking the data in hopes to target ways that policymakers might improve the quality of life for the state’s communities.

The findings are based on a survey taken by Utahns that rate their communities on a series of 20 factors.

For over ten years, the Utah Foundation has measured community quality of life with the Quality of  Life Index — which measures an individual’s sense of well-being — five times.

In 2022, the Community Quality of Life Index, or QLI,  stands at 64 out of a possible 100 points, which for Utah is low.

Since 2013, Utahns’ perception of community quality of life Index score dropped from 73 to 64.

Report findings:

Coming in with the lowest performance rating is affordable housing, which was lower than any other factor.

From 2018-2022,  housing, along with the costs of living, accounted for nearly two-thirds of the overall decrease in community quality of life. Eleven other factors also decreased during the same time period.

  • Job availability was the only factor that has trended upward during the past decade.
  • Utahns who are religiously affiliated, those with higher levels of education, older Utahns, men, and those with higher incomes all reported better community quality of life than their counterparts.
  • Those respondents who identified with a religion indicated a higher community quality of life on 12 of 20 aspects of the index, and those with more education indicated a higher community quality of life on 11 of 20 aspects.
  • When asked what could improve the quality of life for Utahns, more than one-third of Utahns suggested that their communities need to see more housing that is affordable.

Findings in the policy arena:

  • A need for promoting the production of quality, affordable housing and finding other ways to reduce the cost of living.
  • Investing in the built environment and enhancing land-use policies to promote attractive, high-quality developments and streetscapes that are pedestrian-friendly and include key amenities.
  • Building on policies and programs aimed at improving air quality.
  • Investing in transportation and transit infrastructure to reduce traffic and improve the quality of roads and highways.
  • Other areas of concern for policymakers include water issues and the quality of public schools.

Utah Foundation President, Peter Reichard said housing costs, inflation and other challenges are taking a toll.

“Despite a booming economy, Utahns’ perception of their community quality of life is moving in the wrong direction,” Reichard said. “But our analysis of the survey results offers clear guidance for policymakers looking to reverse that trend.”

The 2022 Utah Community Quality of Life Index is the first release in the Utah Foundation’s 2022 Quality of Life project. A report on personal quality of life and other releases will follow.

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