The Utah Foundation’s Community Quality of Life Index dropped to 64 this year out of a possible 100 points. The index has hovered between 70 and 73 points ever since the survey was first conducted in 2011.
“The big headline in terms of community quality of life is that our community quality of life is going down,” said Shawn Teigen, director of research for the Utah Foundation. He said the main reasons for the decline are inflationary: housing affordability and other increasing costs of living like food and utilities.
“It’s our cost of living that has drawn down this quality of life by a substantial margin,” Teigen said in an interview with KSL-TV.
“Utah’s rapidly rising housing costs have made many Utahns feel like rents and ownership are no longer affordable,” the report states. “And inflation is causing angst among many Utahns.”
The survey, which was conducted last month, asks Utahns to rate their communities based on 20 factors.
“We saw a big nosedive and it’s kind of surprising to us,” Teigen said. “We figured that it would go down a little bit but we didn’t realize that it would go down this far.”
Besides the cost of housing and other living costs, the other main issues the survey said are dragging down quality of life are traffic, availability of recreational and social programs, quality of public schools, and the quality of air and water.
Over the previous decade, 18 of the 20 factors have seen a downward trend. The category about having family nearby did not change significantly while the category about good job opportunities experienced a positive trend.
“The availability of good jobs is the only factor on Utah Foundation’s Community Quality of Life Index that has trended upward during the past decade,” the report said.
The Utah Foundation said this survey sends a clear message to policymakers that affordable housing is a top concern that needs to be addressed. Those with a religious affiliation, those with more education, older residents, men and those with higher incomes reported a better quality of life, the report said.
“Among the most striking findings in this study is the tight linkage between religious affiliation and a significantly higher community quality of life,” the researchers write. “In fact, those respondents who identified with a religion indicated a higher quality of life on 12 of 20 aspects of the community index.”
The researchers also note that having post-secondary education was also closely linked to respondents indicating a higher quality of life in 11 of the 20 factors.View Article