Residents continue to give Port St. Lucie high marks in several key areas measuring its quality of life and its desirability as a place to live, according to the results of the 2019 National Citizen Survey™.
A majority of City residents who participated in this year’s statistically-valid Citizen Survey ranked Port St. Lucie as excellent or good in several categories including: overall image, quality of life and appearance, safety and place to live, retire and raise children. This was the second year in a row that Port St. Lucie joined hundreds of cities across the country in conducting a survey to measure the quality of life for residents. The National Citizen Survey™, which was conducted by the National Research Center, Inc., is a snapshot in time showing how Port St. Lucie residents from across geographical areas feel about their city.
The 2019 results show positive changes over time in multiple areas. For example, 78 percent of the participants ranked Port St. Lucie’s quality of life as excellent or good – up 26 percent from a baseline survey conducted in 2009. Additionally, 80 percent rated PSL as an excellent or good place to retire – up 17 percent from 2009.
"As we analyze the 2019 survey results and compare them to the results of the 2009 and 2018 surveys, the data shows that we are moving in the right direction and putting more and more distance between ourselves and the dark days of the Great Recession," said Port St. Lucie Mayor Gregory J. Oravec. "I think we should take heart in our improvements and high performance, and especially in that an increasing number of citizens see their city government in a positive light when it comes to the fundamentals of overall direction, welcoming citizen involvement, confidence in city government, being honest, treating all residents fairly and having a sense of community because these are things that provide the solid foundation from which we will attack our great problems and realize our even greater opportunities."
A key conclusion in the 2019 survey was that residents’ scores for travel around the City tended to be lower than the national averages, including the evaluations for overall ease of travel, transit and most modes of travel. These assessments show an area of opportunity for Port St. Lucie regarding overall ease of travel and alternate forms of transportation.
"As to those problems and opportunities, the citizen survey lays them bare. There is no hiding from them, and this year’s results clearly indicate that mobility, with the related issues of roadways, sidewalks, transit and trails, needs to continue to be at the top of our priority list," Mayor Oravec said. "Clarity of purpose is a blessing; and in the end, that is what our strategic planning process and this survey help to deliver. I can’t wait to meet with the City Council and our staff on an update to the strategic plan, one that will deliver big improvements on mobility and all of our priorities, sooner rather than later."
The results of this Citizen Survey and information gathered from participants at the 2019 Citizen Summit, which was held on Feb. 23, 2019, will be used by the City Council as it updates the City’s Strategic Plan.
The survey captured opinions within three primary pillars of a community: community characteristics, governance, and participation. Seven central facets are observed within these pillars: safety, mobility, natural environment, economy, recreation and wellness, education and enrichment, and community engagement.
As part of its participation in The National Citizen Survey™, the City of Port St. Lucie conducted a mail survey where 347 participants responded (results of which are statistically valid and have a +/- 5 percent margin of error) and a web-based survey to its residents through a link on the City’s website, where 3,428 participants responded.
Safety was a top priority for residents. About 8 in 10 residents positively rated the overall feeling of safety in Port St. Lucie. About 9 in 10 residents felt safe in their neighborhoods and commercial areas, and all safety-related services provided by the city were given high marks by the majority of respondents and were on par with the national averages.
Affordability is an asset in Port St. Lucie, according to the survey. Respondents gave high marks to cost of living, availability of affordable quality food, health care, mental health care, and child care/preschool; these ratings were aligned with national averages. Residents’ ratings of availability of affordable quality housing were strong and higher than the national benchmarks; these ratings also increased from 2018 to 2019.
Results from the 2018 survey have already been utilized by the Council in setting several strategic priorities, including selecting the projects that will be paid for with the new half-cent sales tax and the creation of the Civic Center’s Free Friday Concert Series.
Strong support in the 2018 Citizen Survey for new career technical opportunities played a role in the City Council’s decision to partner with Somerset Academy Inc. for the creation of a Career Technical Academy on City-owned land. In the 2019 Survey, almost all community members showed support for this academy, with 50 percent strongly supporting it.
- NCS Community Livability Report 2019
- NCS Dashboard Summary 2019
- NCS Supplemental Online Results 2019