2022 SLC Survey: good quality of life, concern about opioids

After a recent resident survey, the quality of life in St. Louis County is good. Compared to the national average, the cost of living here is rated better, and the recreational opportunities score much higher.

The survey was done by Polco’s National Research Center, Inc. Participants also provided input on areas of concern and potential issues facing the county. The opioid epidemic was again rated most problematic, according to the survey. There was a slight decrease in rating than in 2019, the last time this survey was conducted. Other issues noted include homelessness and poverty, both of which are seen as bigger concerns now than three years ago.

Respondents overall confidence in the St. Louis County government has remained steady, as has their approval rating for the job St. Louis County is doing. County services rated most highly include 911 dispatch and sheriff patrol, both of which consistently are ranked high.

New this year, respondents were asked to rate the county’s COVID services, and it tied for third highest rated service, along with positive ratings for county landfill and canister sites and recycling programs.

When asked to rank the importance of various county services, the top three are to:

  1. protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect,
  2. enforce laws and prosecute criminals, and
  3. invest in County road infrastructure.

The service that saw the largest increase in rating of importance is to provide online payment options for county services.

Responses received are compared to survey results from communities across the country. St. Louis County residents rated "maintenance of county roads" much higher than the national county benchmark. Respondents also gave much higher marks for overall impression of county employees.

Complete survey results can be viewed online.

The survey packet was mailed to 2,800 County residents selected at random, and had a 26-percent response rate. Results of the survey are considered statistically valid, with a margin of error of +/- 4%.

St. Louis County partnered with four other counties: Dakota, Olmsted, Scott and Washington, to produce the survey, which is being conducted by the National Research Center, Inc. The County conducted similar surveys five other times, beginning in 2007 and most recently in 2019.

Spanning more than 7,000 square miles, St. Louis County is the largest county east of the Mississippi River and is home to 200,000 people.