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Key Indicators for Understanding Our Region

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The Pittsburgh Regional Quality of Life Survey

Introduction

In order to understand where we are going, we must first understand where we are.

by Douglas Heuck and Richard Schulz

In that spirit, we are pleased to release a distillation of the findings of the Pittsburgh Regional Quality of Life Survey, the most extensive survey of the residents of Greater Pittsburgh since the historic Pittsburgh Survey was published in 1908. Our intent in undertaking this survey was to use the most reliable methods possible to understand the behaviors and attitudes of Greater Pittsburgh’s citizens. We believe that this survey provides information that can be valuable both as an historic document and as a guide to inform decisions about this region’s future. We plan to repeat this survey in future years to gauge our progress in improving the quality of life in the region.

In the pages to come are facts and opinions about life in Greater Pittsburgh, given by the people who live here. The 120-question survey focuses on 10 major areas: arts & culture, economy, education, environment, government, health, housing & neighborhood, public safety, transportation and overall quality of life. The Pittsburgh Regional Quality of Life Survey is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,800 residents of a region that comprises 32 counties in four states. For more detailed information about the methodology of this representative survey, please turn to the Appendix at the back of this report.

The sampling strategy we used allows us to compare and summarize findings for Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, the seven-county metropolitan statistical area (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland Counties), and the “Power of 32” Greater Pittsburgh region (including parts of Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia).

Additionally, we have “oversampled” African American citizens in order to obtain a statistically valid portrait of their lives and how their conditions and attitudes compare with citizens of other races across the region.

The results follow in 10 chapters, researched and written by the staff of the regional indicators project PittsburghToday and the staff of the University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR). PittsburghToday and UCSUR collaborated on creating the questions, with input from University of Pittsburgh faculty and the help of PittsburghToday’s 10 subject area committees, including volunteer citizens and leaders in each area. UCSUR oversaw the execution of the telephone interviews, which were completed in November 2011, and the organization and analysis of the data, which was completed in the early spring of 2012. The survey was funded primarily by UCSUR and by PittsburghToday, through its philanthropic supporters.

To view the full report, use the download link below.

Posted July 24, 2012

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