CUTGroup Miami #10: CivicPro, Phase 1
Understanding what Miamians find important through surveys
CUTGroup Miami sent an email-based survey to our mailing list, while CivicPro worked with CatalystMiami, a local social services organization to get feedback from their clients. The survey window was opened from May 13 to July 30, 2017.
There were 23 questions included in the study ranging from policy priorities to geographic and demographic information to education and income. To incentive participants, a gift card drawing for $100 was scheduled to close the survey period on July 31st, and the selected participant was notified and approved Gift Card delivery method.
What were our goals?
- Define key policy issue priorities and interests of Miami-Dade County residents.
- Ensure a well-represented sample from our local population.
- Test the feasibility and responsiveness of email-based survey methods.
There were 192 participants who submitted a survey, with 176 completing all portions (no blank/skipped answers). To see full results visit surveymonkey.com’s results page.
The Top 5 priorities of survey respondents who marked topics as “very important” included: Crime & Safety, Education, Environment (clean energy, sea level rise, water quality), Transit, & Civil Rights/Civil Liberties/Voting Rights.
Although affordable housing was listed 11th on this initial priority defining stage, when prompted with a follow-up question “of the previous issues you listed as very important, which issue do you feel is most important for your community?” affordable housing was ranked as the highest priority, above Crime & Safety and Education. Jobs/Employment/Wages category also replaced Transit in the top 5 priorities. On the third and final priority defining stage, asked in terms of “second most important to your community, “ Animals/Animal Control, Business Incentives & Small Business, & Children & Youth Programs/Opportunities replaced Crime & Safety, Education, & Jobs/Employment/Wages.
Topics requested by participants as “not included” or “overlooked” contained the following: Digital Privacy, Brain Drain, Veterans, Land Use Policy, Public Corruption, & Young Professionals were considered outside of the pre-selected choices.
Of the 115 females and 70 males in Miami-Dade County that completed the survey, about half of respondents self-identified as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. About a third of the participants self-identified as White, 20% self-identified as Black or African American, and the rest of the members responded in other ways, including Asian, Caribbean, biracial, & mixed Middle Eastern or North African, or as Native American or Alaskan Native.
More than 36% of respondents have graduated college and almost 30% had some grad school or completed grad school. While 8.7% of survey participants have completed high school, almost 18% have some college completed.
Income and occupation
We requested survey participants include their annual income, we received 184 responses. About half of our respondents earn less than $49k per year, while about a third of our responders earn $50k-$100K. ~14% earn annual incomes more than $100k. The Occupations and Professions included provides some insight into the aforementioned income distribution. Respondents included unemployed persons, students, corrections officers, sales managers, marketing and communications managers, retail positions, attorneys, auditors, designers, clerks, financial advisors, and entrepreneurs.
Rent and home ownership
Almost half of survey participants rent, and a about one-third own. More than 12% of those who selected “other” responded with “live with relatives and/or parents,” as well as “dorm room.” More than 65% of survey respondents have lived in Miami for more than 10 years!
About two-thirds of survey respondents have DSL/Broadband internet at home. About one-third of our respondents use a phone plan with data to access the Internet.
Less than five percent of our participants rely on public wifi, only access the internet at a public computer center or noted their only use of the internet at work or school.
Political Affiliation & Civic Knowledge
85% of respondents are registered voters with party affiliations as follows: ~42% Democrat, ~16% Republican, ~30% Independent and 11% reporting other included “non affiliated,” and “green party” and one instance of “Not eligible.”
We asked participants to rank their “general political or civic knowledge” and their responses were as follows: ~35% ranked High, ~53% ranked Medium, ~12% ranked Low. As a follow up question, respondents were asked how they stayed informed regarding “local government issues.” ~73% answered “Online News Service”, ~57% answered “Facebook or Social Media”, more than 54% selected Newspapers as their main source, while ~33% selected “Public Notices & Agendas”. ~3% specified they “do not keep up with local issues” and another ~13 % chose “other” which included the written responses “conversations with other citizens” & “cable news/TV” as information sources.
Overall Satisfaction with Government
The weighted average was 2.62 out of 10.
- “I’d like to see the local government do more outreach to the community.”
- “I don’t think that the government has done a good job nor have they done a bad job. The way Miami has been developed is terrible. There is no real job market near housing. This brings down the quality of life, because everyone has 8hrs of work and is stuck in at least 3.5hrs in traffic a day. This means we spend more time working and driving then actually spending time with our families and doing things we may enjoy.”
- “There are still improvements that need to be made on the issues of strategic urban development”
- “I like their proactive measures around the binge tourism that Miami Beach experiences; I would like to see more innovation coming out of City Hall, particularly around environmental issues.”
- “They don’t care about the poor and working class.”
- “I see the progress but I think the government is moving slow”
As with many digital or crowdsourced collection methods, we must rely on respondents answers at face value, and trust the users behind the screen. While being able to reach more participants in a smaller time frame, it may also work against our efforts to build community rather than continue participating in an isolated fashion.
- Some survey respondents on mobile (cell phone) described display issues related to Question 21.
“Picking a priority is just a place to start.”
- As with many feedback sessions, some participants wanted immediate results for their input, and considering the enormous task ahead of CivicPro, understandably some participants were frustrated with the speed of implementing change.
“Fix the website. Its really bad.”
Others were much more direct in their critiques:
This survey is not well designed. The original question “for your community” is not well defined. What community? City? Demographic? Identity? Or just me, personally?
“Good survey; not too long.”
“Why independent voter can’t vote on primary elections without registering to a party? This needs to change…
Some issues that were raised in the comments, while perhaps outside CivicPro’s immediate sphere of control, still validly shows how citizens may sometimes feel blocked or excluded by existing systems. Learning about the firsthand needs of a community takes time, and while the Priorities survey provided a foundation for outlining key issues and policies that motivate most of our community, it will certainly require additional feedback in the future to refine and focus on the essentials.