Grand Rapids earns high marks in community survey


Nearly 90% or respondents rated Grand Rapids as an excellent or good place to live. Courtesy Experience Grand Rapids

Results of a recent community survey showed Grand Rapids residents have a positive view of living in Michigan’s second-largest city.

Findings in the National Community Survey showed residents enjoy a high quality of life, strong economy and safe neighborhoods in Grand Rapids.

The survey, conducted last fall by the National Research Center, asked residents for their opinions within three pillars of a community and across eight primary areas of livability.

“Overall, ratings for community livability were positive,” said Erin Caldwell, director of research at NRC. “The survey ratings around the economy exceeded comparisons nationwide.”  

The pillars were community characteristics, governance and participation. The livability areas were:

  • Safety
  • Mobility
  • Natural environment
  • Built environment
  • Economy
  • Recreation and wellness
  • Education and enrichment
  • Community engagement

According to the survey, 77% of respondents rated the overall quality of life in Grand Rapids as excellent or good — a rating similar to the national benchmark comparison.

Additionally, 87% rated Grand Rapids as a place to live as excellent or good. The city performed above national benchmarks as a place to visit, 84% excellent/good, and as a place to work, 78% excellent/good.

Grand Rapids was above national benchmarks in a number of economic categories, including the vibrancy of downtown, – 73% excellent/good; shopping opportunities, 78% excellent/good; and employment opportunities, 71% excellent/good.

People of color in Grand Rapids reported lower levels of satisfaction across most aspects of the survey with the exception of mobility. These residents also are more likely to rank creating pathways to financial growth as a priority for the city, 90%.


NRC randomly selected 2,200 Grand Rapids households to receive the survey. NRC received 399 completed surveys — a 19% response rate for a 5% margin of error.

Those who were not chosen randomly could participate in an online open participation survey. NRC received 352 responses from the open survey. 

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