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County Releases Citizen Survey Results

Overall Quality of Life Rankings Remain High

Albemarle County is releasing results of its 2011 Citizen Survey which indicate that citizens continue to rate overall quality of life in the County very high.  According to the survey’s Executive Summary, “Most residents experienced a good quality of life in Albemarle County and believed the County was a good place to live.  The overall quality of life in Albemarle County was rated as “excellent” or “good” by 90% of respondents”, which is “way above” the national comparison to other localities included in the survey.   Highlights of survey are listed below, and a complete copy of the survey results is available online at  

The survey was conducted as part of the National Citizen Survey (The NCS) developed by the National Research Center, Inc. in cooperation with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).   The NCS was developed to provide a statistically valid survey of resident opinions about community and services provided by local government.  The NCS focuses on a series of community characteristics and local government services, as well as issues of public trust.  Because each county's survey is developed using a standard template, and many counties can be surveyed at one time, The NCS  is a very efficient way to measure citizen opinion.  The timing of this statistically valid survey provides results that will inform both the County’s strategic and comprehensive planning processes.

In past years Albemarle County worked with UVA’s Center for Survey Research to conduct telephone surveys of randomly selected residents to measure citizen satisfaction with government services and to obtain input regarding community goals and priorities. Results of these county surveys have played a key role in determining areas of emphasis for planning and programmatic efforts.  This year the County is using the National Citizen Survey tool to reduce costs and to provide the opportunity for benchmarking with other jurisdictions across Virginia and the United States.

Participating household were selected at random and multiple mailings were provided to give households more than one change to participate.  Results were statistically weighted to reflect the proper demographic composition of the community.   There were 378 completed surveys, which was a response rate of 33%.  This was within the range of response rates for this type of survey which is from 25% to 40%. This is a representative sample and the results of this survey are statistically valid within a margin of error of plus or minus 5% points. 


  • Most residents note a good quality of life in Albemarle County – Quality of Life was rated “excellent” or “good” by 90% of the respondents. 

  • Residents demonstrate trust in County government:
    • Majority rated direction the County is going is “excellent” or “good.” (similar to Benchmark communities)
    • Most residents who interacted with County employees rated their impression was “excellent” or “good” 

  • Residents gave favorable ratings to a majority of County services
    • Of the 41 services in which comparables were available, 26 were above benchmark comparisons, 11 were similar to benchmarks and 4 were below. 

  • Residents are civically engaged:
    • 80% of citizens ranked opportunities to participate in community matters as excellent or good, which was categorized as much above the national benchmark. 
    • Almost 60% of citizens described the job that Albemarle County does at welcoming citizen involvement as excellent or good, above the national benchmark. 

  • The majority of residents, 57%, feel that the value of services for taxes paid was “Excellent” or “Good.”  The response to this question was similar to the response received to this question in surveys conducted by benchmark communities. 

  • The most favorable ratings for “ characteristics of the community” were:
    • The County’s overall image or reputation
    • The County’s overall appearance
    • The County’s overall quality of its natural environment
    • The County’s educational opportunities

  • The least favorable ratings for “characteristics of the community” were:
    • Ease of bus travel 
    • Ease of rail travel
    • Ease of bicycle travel 
    • Availability of affordable child care

  • Benchmark Comparisons for “characteristics of the community”:
    • Of the 31 that were available to be benchmarked, 19 were above the national benchmarks, 3 were similar and 9 were below those in other benchmark localities.

Click here to view the report in its entirety...

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