Look Me in The Eye, Then Tell Me That I'm Satisfied. Well, Dallas, Are You Satisfied?

One of many charts and graphs found inside the 2011 Community Survey
One of many charts and graphs found inside the 2011 Community Survey

Sure, you're satisfied this morning -- you just woke up in a city planning for a championship parade, dang it. But how 'bout the rest of the year? Reason I ask: On Wednesday the city council will get a look at the 2011 Community Survey, where, long story short, the results are "still going up in most satisfaction levels," as City Manager Mary Suhm put it last week, after we got through talking about this. "None of it's where I ultimately hope it'll be, but it's moving in the right direction."

And she's right: Market-research firm ETC Institute conducted the survey, and the 1,428 Dallas residents who turned in their seven-page questionnaires leading to the 56-page round-up all agreed that that they rather like the city in which they live -- with even the "overall appearance" of Dallas topping other major metros by a few percentage points. Which isn't to say there haven't been some declines since the '09 round-up.

As you can see above, fewer people put a check by "excellent" or even "good" when asked to rate "Dallas as a place to live" (76 percent this year, as opposed to 78 percent in '09), "Dallas as a place to do business" (77 percent vs. 78 percent) and "Dallas as a place to retire" (54 percent vs. 52 percent). There have also been declines in such categories as "ease of car travel" and "ease of bus travel," though residents tend to believe it's getting easier to walk and bike in Dallas. Have to ask Patrick Kennedy about that.

But people are happier with the quality of public schools (a meager 28 percent of the upturned thumbs in 2009 is now all the way up to 34 percent, so that's something), the quality of the air, the number of affordable eateries, the overall image-slash-reputation of the city and so forth. As the briefing puts it, more or less accurately: "Overall satisfaction with city services is significantly higher in Dallas than other large cities."

There's even been an uptick in the number of folks happy with the way streets are maintained and repaired. Then again, only a a little more than a quarter of those surveyed checked off "excellent" or "good." (Including Mike Rawlings?) Suhm mentioned she wasn't surprised that "infrastructure and streets are in top three categories" of concerns for residents, joining chart-topper Public Safety. And, yes, she knows all about Lemmon Avenue.

It's a long doc; read up and feel free to note the notables. Need some music to accompany your read-through? Well, then  hit it, boys.

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