April 25, 2008

University survey shows majority of Sacramento
residents satisfied, but pessimistic
Gas prices, budget deficit, economy and
housing market are top concerns

Full Report

This past year has held many challenges for Sacramento area residents. Median home prices have dropped 30.9 percent compared to this time last year (California Association of Realtors, March 24, 2008), the state’s budget deficit looms large in a city where the state government is one of the biggest employers in the area, and gas prices are approaching $4 per gallon.

So how do Sacramentans feel about their quality of life? And what are the biggest problems in the area? According to the 2008 Sacramento State Annual Survey of the Region, the vast majority of residents in the Sacramento area—85 percent—are satisfied with the overall quality of life in the region, with 32 percent of those saying they are very satisfied.

Additionally, three out of four area residents (74 percent) are also pleased with their financial situation. Of those, 25 percent say they are very satisfied and 49 percent say they are somewhat happy.

However, many poor, young, non-white residents in the region are not pleased with their financial situation. Of those more than 44 percent have a family income of less than $30,000, 40 percent of those do not own a home in the region, and 38 percent of non-white residents say they are dissatisfied.

Only 49 percent of area residents believe things in the Sacramento region are going in the right direction—the first time since 2002 that less than half of residents surveyed are happy with the direction in which the region is heading (59 percent said “right direction” in 2006, 62 percent in 2005, 60 percent in 2004, 58 percent in 2003 and 65 percent in 2002).

When asked about the 12 major issues facing the Sacramento region, respondents felt the two biggest problems were high gas prices (74 percent) and the state budget deficit (71 percent). More than half think the economy (56 percent) and the housing market (54 percent) are big concerns, followed by traffic congestion (50 percent), affordable health care (43 percent), air pollution (39 percent), quality of public education (38 percent), affordable housing (36 percent), the city’s or county’s budget (31 percent), crime (31 percent) and flood control (23 percent).

Other findings include:

• The level of satisfaction of Sacramento residents has not varied greatly since 2002; 87 percent were satisfied in 2007, 83 percent in 2006, 85 percent in 2005 and 2004, 84 percent in 2003 and 89 percent in 2002.

• About one-third of younger people (32 percent of those 40 or younger) are not content with their financial situation.

• Despite flood control becoming the least important issue for residents in the region, 86 percent feel local government should restrict the construction of new homes in areas without adequate flood protection. The survey was a computer-assisted telephone survey of 1,200 randomly selected adults in Sacramento, Yolo, Placer and El Dorado counties. It has a margin of error of 3 percent.

More information is available by contacting Professor Amy Liu at amyliuus@yahoo.com or (916) 278-7572. For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.