VoiceGR 2016 Survey Results Released

by Jodi Petersen, Ph.D., Director, Community Research Institute

The Johnson Center for Philanthropy’s Community Research Institute has released its VoiceGR results for 2016. The VoiceGR survey seeks to inform local decision makers and stakeholders utilizing data on the opinions, attitudes, and perceptions of local residents. The survey asks about prominent issues such as education, housing, employment, inclusion, and health.

Results are used by residents, neighborhood associations, schools, nonprofits, funders, local government and businesses to inform their programming and day to day decisions.

“VoiceGR is an important metric for our City,” said Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. “It allows residents to share their opinions and tell us how we’re succeeding as a community as well as where we are falling short. It helps us understand how local government, businesses, and nonprofits can work together to better serve the citizens of Greater Grand Rapids.”

Key findings from the 2016 survey are available here and include:

  • There continue to be differences by demographics in how respondents rate Grand Rapids as a place to live, with White residents responding the most positively, followed by Asian, Multi-racial, American Indian, and Hispanic/Latino, and Black/African American residents.
  • Respondents report feeling less safe in their neighborhoods than in previous surveys, now at 15% compared to 7% in 2013.
  • The top community strengths identified by respondents were community cohesion, people, and the location.
  • The top problems identified by respondents were crime, infrastructure, and lack of cohesion.
  • The appearance of cohesion, meaning feeling like you are welcome and belong in your community, as both a strength and a problem indicates that it is a very salient or important issue for residents.

New this year are VoiceGR neighborhood summaries, which allow residents to see results for all questions that pertain to their particular neighborhood.

All VoiceGR results are available through a variety of interactive tools at www.VoiceGR.org. The Johnson Center will be releasing a series of data briefs in the coming months to provide deeper insight on many of the subtopics of the VoiceGR 2016 survey.

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