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Summary: Annual Residents’ Survey Shows Quality of Hampton Roads Life High Amid Flooding and Other Concerns

The large majority of Hampton Roads residents like their quality of life in the region, despite significant challenges involving such issues as crime, traffic, public schools and flooding.

Those trends are revealed by the sixth annual Life in Hampton Roads survey released this week by the Social Science Research Center at Old Dominion University.

The survey seeks to determine the attitudes and perceptions of Hampton Roads citizens regarding a wide variety of topics of local interest. The telephone survey includes responses from 883 people, the most ever polled, weighted in order to present results that are representative of the Hampton Roads population.

* Nearly three-quarters (72.9 percent) of those interviewed reported the overall quality of life in Hampton Roads was excellent or good while 25.8 percent found it to be fair or poor.

* The local economy and recreational opportunities graded out well in the survey; the portion rating the regional economy as excellent or good was the highest in six years of surveys, exceeding by more than ten percent the previous high set in 2014.

* Crime was the most commonly cited reason for giving a fair or poor rating for quality of life in Hampton Roads, with several respondents pointing towards shootings that have eroded their sense of safety.

* Transportation issues, such as poor road quality, bridges, traffic congestion, public transit limitations, and tolls were the second most-often cited negative factor.

* Although the average commute time to work or school dropped to 20 minutes, the lowest in five years, nearly half (46.2 percent) of Hampton Roads residents avoided visiting a business in a neighboring city in the last month due to concerns about traffic congestion.

Sea-level rise and flooding remain pressing issues for the region, as 82.9 percent of the respondents believe flooding has stayed the same or increased over the last 30 years, and 80.2 percent believe the sea level will rise over the next 25 years.

* The percentage of Hampton Roads respondents reporting that recurring flooding is a problem in their neighborhood (28.4 percent) is the highest since 2013.

* Respondents were also asked if they think increased flooding due to sea-level rise is likely to negatively impact them in the future. The majority of respondents agree (44.1 percent) or strongly agree (13.5 percent) that increased flooding due to sea-level rise is likely to negatively impact them in the future.

These data support the work of Old Dominion's Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute, as well as the White House pilot project on sea-level rise based at Old Dominion.

The full Life in Hampton Roads survey has been posted here by the Social Science Research Center.

The individual releases:

Regional, city and neighborhood quality of life

Crime and politics

Health and education

Transportation

Sea-level rise and flooding

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