A survey of four major counties in North Texas has preliminary results with more data planned to be released later this year.

Members of the research team from the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences at The University of Texas at Dallas shared initial findings on survey topics, including safety and perceptions of local government, during a June 28 event. Although initial results have come out, Timothy Bray, director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research at UT Dallas, said researchers are still collecting around 2,000 more surveys.

“Our goal here is to make sure that the information you have available to you works for you and you don't have to work for it,” Bray said.

Two-minute impact

The William C. Short quality-of-life survey is a part of the North Texas Quality of Life Initiative, which has a goal of delivering data and information necessary for the area’s future growth. Researchers launched the survey last November.

Bray said the goal was to receive around 3,000 responses in the first iteration of the annual survey, which is meant to be representative of the four surveyed counties: Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant. Because of various demographic, development and socioeconomic differences, researchers split Dallas County into northern and southern areas.

The details

From the preliminary results, individuals' top concern in North Texas was inflation, which, according to the Consumer Price Index, has risen 5% year over year.

Other top issues identified in the preliminary results include:
  • Traffic
  • Homelessness
  • Crime
  • Environmental quality, such as clean air and water
“People in our community who took our survey are a lot more concerned about inflation and a lot less concerned about immigration than respondents in the nation as a whole,” said Curtis Bram, a survey advisor for the project.

Digging deeper

More than two-thirds of respondents indicated they felt voting is a civic duty. However, one-third felt they could influence local government, and 38% said it takes too much money and effort to be involved in local government.

“It's a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg problem here,” Bram said. “That's an interesting thing we'll have to be exploring: Is it that they think there's no influence because they're not voting, or are they not voting because they think they have no influence?”

Other items identified in the surveyed communities included a sense of community and belonging, and concerns about homelessness.

Looking ahead

Bray said final survey results are likely going to be released in October. Along with the released results, there are plans to have an online data dashboard for individuals to access.

Through the larger surveys, researchers also hope to expand beyond the annual quality-of-life survey into pulse surveys more tied into various topics of importance.

“We want to bring folks together around the issues that we discovered,” Bray said. “We want to sit down with city managers, residents and nonprofits to talk about, ‘What does this actually mean.’”