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Historic number of Calgarians say quality of life has worsened, survey finds

A recently published City of Calgary survey shows that the number of Calgarians who believe their quality of life has worsened in the past three years has reached historic highs.

According to the Spring 2024 Survey, 71 per cent of Calgarians surveyed rate their quality of life as “good,” seven percentage points lower than this time last year and five percentage points lower than fall 2023.

Around 62 per cent believe their quality of life has worsened over the past three years, compared with 49 per cent in spring 2023 and 59 per cent in fall 2023.

The survey also suggests only 38 per cent of Calgarians agree that the city is moving in the right direction to ensure a higher quality of life for future generations, a significant drop from 51 per cent in spring 2023.

The survey also found that around 65 per cent of respondents believe that the city is on the right track to becoming a better city in the next decade, however, this is down compared with 77 per cent in spring 2023 and 70 per cent in fall 2023. The city said this is the lowest measure ever recorded.

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“As in fall 2023, Calgarians are currently experiencing greater uncertainty regarding their own financial wellbeing as well as that of others in their community. From rising food prices to the day-to-day expenses of utilities, housing, clothing, transportation and other necessities, many Calgarians are feeling the impacts of inflation first-hand,” Chris Arthurs, the city’s general manager, said in a report.

“Calgarians are navigating significant pressures and grappling with worries about the preservation of their quality of life as well as seeking safety and security and being worried about the future of their city and their children’s future quality of life. As such, some declines should be expected, and our success can be seen in how some key metrics remain positive.”

Arthurs noted that the decline is a trend consistent with other municipalities across Canada.

“While results this spring may have taken a downward trend and appear discouraging, they highlight opportunities for improvement that will drive optimism for our city’s future,” the general manager wrote.

Infrastructure, traffic, roads remain top concern

The Spring 2024 Survey also suggests that infrastructure, traffic and roads remain a top concern, with 29 per cent of Calgarians surveyed saying local leaders should address them.

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Homelessness, poverty and affordable housing are the second most pressing issues, with 24 per cent of those surveyed saying this is a top issue in spring 2024. This is significantly higher than spring 2023 (15 per cent) but remains relatively stable since fall 2023 (31 per cent). However, the city noted in its report that some people mistake “housing affordability” with “affordable housing,” which could explain the drop this year.

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Crime and safety is the third most pressing issue, with 22 per cent of Calgarians surveyed mentioning it as their top concern. This is a decrease from fall 2023 (27 per cent) but on par with spring 2023 (24 per cent).

Seventeen per cent of those surveyed identified transit as their top concern, making it the fourth most pressing issue. This is a slight increase since fall 2023 (15 per cent) and on par with spring 2023 (18 per cent).

Around 16 per cent of Calgarians identified the economy as their top concern, compared with 11 per cent in fall 2023 and seven per cent in spring 2023.

Majority still believe Green Line LRT is important despite decrease in support

A majority of Calgarians surveyed still believe that the Green Line LRT is important for the city, despite a decrease in support.

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According to the survey, around 88 per cent of respondents believe the project is important, compared with 92 per cent in spring 2023.

Around 89 per cent believe the completion of the Green Line LRT’s full vision is important for the city’s future.

The survey also suggests 89 per cent of Calgarians agree that the Green Line is an important addition to the city’s transportation network, a two percentage point decrease from spring 2023.

Around 86 per cent of those surveyed agree that the Green Line will better connect Calgarians, places and services, a six percentage point decrease from spring 2023.

Majority of Calgarians satisfied with city programs and services

Around 63 per cent of Calgarians surveyed said they were satisfied with the city’s programs and services.

According to the city’s report, 32 out of 50 programs received satisfaction ratings from 80 per cent or more Calgarians while 11 out of 50 programs received satisfaction ratings from 90 per cent or more Calgarians.

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Those surveyed said the top investment priorities should be affordable housing, public transit, social services, 9-1-1 services and Calgary Fire Department services.

The Spring 2024 Survey was a telephone survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs from Feb. 27, 2024 to March 26, 2024. Around 2,501 Calgarians responded to the telephone survey via cellphones and landlines. The margin of error for the total sample of n = 2,501 is two percentage points, or 19 times out of 20. The city said sample quotas were set by age, gender and quadrant of the general population aged 18 and older to ensure the data was gathered from a representative group of Calgarians. The city also said the data was weighted based on the 2019 Municipal Census and 2021 Federal Census.

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