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Calgary's reputation takes a hit in new quality of life survey

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More Calgarians have a gloomy outlook on the quality of life in the city and many say the perception of making a good living here has dropped, a new survey says.

The City of Calgary's 2024 Spring Survey, conducted by Ipsos, found that three-fifths of Calgarians believe life has "worsened" over the past three years, which is a "historic high."

Fewer people are seeing the city as a great place to live too, the report suggests.

"Seven-in-ten (69 per cent) agree that Calgary is a great place to make a life, marking a significant decrease from fall 2023 (75 per cent) and spring 2023 (78 per cent)," the survey said.

"Similarly, more than three-fifths (63 per cent) view Calgary as a great place to make a living, a significant drop from fall 2023 (70 per cent) and spring 2023 (73 per cent)."

There is also less optimism for the path forward for Calgary.

"Nearly two-fifths (38 per cent) agree that the city is moving in the right direction to ensure a high quality of life for future generations, consistent with fall 2023 (38 per cent). Both spring 2024 and fall 2023 are down significantly from spring 2023 (51 per cent)."

The survey also identified the main issues for Calgarians and found infrastructure, traffic and roads as the top concern, followed by homelessness, poverty and affordable housing and crime, safety and policing.

Public transit was fourth among Calgarians' concerns and many people (88 per cent) strongly support the investments being made, such as the Green Line LRT project.

While a majority of Calgarians (63 per cent) are satisfied with many city services and projects, the level of satisfaction has declined significantly since 2015 (80 per cent).

One-quarter of Calgarians (26 per cent) see the value they receive for their tax dollars as "poor," the survey found. That perception is at an all-time high, the city found.

The confidence that Calgarians have in the city making the necessary improvements has also fallen, the survey has found.

"How it includes input from Calgarians into important decisions sits at 57 per cent, on par with fall 2023 (59 per cent) but significantly lower than spring 2023 (68 per cent).

"Around one-half (53 per cent) agree that the city allows Calgarians to have meaningful input into decision making, on par with fall 2023 (51 per cent) but significantly lower than spring 2023 (62 per cent)."

Calgary's reputation as being well managed has also dropped since last year, with 59 per cent of people satisfied with the way council is running the city and 49 per cent of people are satisfied with council's performance.

There was one positive aspect from the survey as more than 90 per cent of respondents are satisfied with what the city is doing to protect the environment but many also agree that the focus needs to shift.

"Many (62 per cent) agree the City of Calgary should be doing more to fight climate change. This sentiment is more muted than some other environmental measures, with 30 per cent 'strongly agreeing' and 32 per cent 'somewhat agreeing'.

"A minority (38 per cent) disagree that the city should be doing more in this area."

The Ipsos survey was conducted over the phone with 2,501 Calgarians between Feb. 27 and March 26.

The margin of error for the total sample is +/- two percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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