Utah Foundation Quality of Life Survey: Measuring Utahns’ Perceptions of their Communities, Personal Lives

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In collaboration with Intermountain Healthcare, Utah Foundation occasionally surveys Utahns in an effort to understand how they feel about both their community and their personal quality of life.

KEY FINDINGS OF THIS REPORT

  • Despite improvements in the economy, Utahns’ perceptions of their community quality of life has declined since 2013 from a score of 73 to 70.
  • The availability of good jobs is the only aspect on Utah Foundation’s Community Quality of Life Index that improved from 2015 to 2018.
  • Affordable housing has the lowest rating in the index. Air quality, streetscapes and traffic are also among Utahns’ biggest concerns.
  • Three aspects declined in performance since 2015 to 2018: affordable housing; air and water quality; and good parks and recreation.
  • Utahns living along the Wasatch Front, those who are religiously affiliated and those with higher incomes all reported better community quality of life. Those respondents who identified with a religion indicated a higher community quality of life on 19 of 20 aspects on the index.
  • Utahns with higher incomes indicated a higher rating on all seven aspects of the Personal Quality of Life Index. Those who are religiously affiliated and younger Utahns also reported better personal quality of life.
  • Being “secure financially” is far and away the poorest performing measure among the personal quality of life questions.

COMMUNITY QUALITY OF LIFE

Utah Foundation’s Community Quality of Life Index stands at 70 out of a possible 100 points, down from 71 in the 2015 index and 73 in the 2013 index (see Figure 1). Although the index has shifted from survey to survey, these small fluctuations are not always meaningful. However, the change from 2013 to 2018 is significant – Utahns’ sentiments about their quality of life have declined since 2013.

Significant Changes

The Community Quality of Life Index peaked in 2013. The decrease since then stems from Utahns’ sentiments about their community declining across eight factors – and improving in only one factor.

The one improvement was in the “opportunities for good jobs.” This is likely due to the consistently-improving job market in Utah since the end of the Great Recession.

Of these three significant changes, housing has the largest decrease in assessed performance. Utah’s rapidly rising housing costs have made many Utahns feel like rents and ownership are no longer affordable.

PERSONAL QUALITY OF LIFE

In terms of performance, “positive and supportive relationships with others” ranked highest, followed closely by respondents finding “meaning or purpose” in life, feeling “comfortable or at peace spiritually” and simply being “happy.”

Far and away the lowest ranking for personal quality of life is that respondents “feel comfortable or secure financially.”

 

Read a lot more about Utahns’ quality of life in the report.

And read this supplement to this report that looks closely at the three housing affordability questions in the Quality of Life Index.

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