National Community Survey

The National Community Survey (NCS) is a questionnaire that measures a community's livability. The questionnaire asks Grand Rapidians about their experience living in Grand Rapids. The results of this survey are benchmarked against more than 600 communities nationally and 38 communities of similar size to Grand Rapids.

Livability is defined as: The sum of the factors that add up to a community's quality of life. NCS has eight livability factors:

  1. Safety
  2. Mobility
  3. Natural environment
  4. Built environment
  5. Economy
  6. Recreation and wellness
  7. Education and enrichment
  8. Community engagement

2022 National Community Survey

We invite you to take The National Community Survey, an annual survey that helps us gauge community perceptions of our services, programs, and more. Please share your thoughts by April 1.The survey includes questions about quality of life, quality of City services, characteristics and opportunities in the community and participation in City programs, among other topics. The survey features 39 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete.

Complete the National Community Survey in English

Complete the National Community Survey in Spanish 

Residents who earlier received a survey in the mail as part of the initiative’s first phase are asked to respond via the link on the letter that accompanied the survey or by mailing the completed survey to the address listed in the letter. The City last month mailed 2,200 surveys to randomly selected households for a representative sample of the population.

The NCS is part of our:

  • Strategic Plan
  • Performance Management initiative
  • Commitment to accountability, identified in our Strategic Plan

Check out our Strategic Plan page below.

Strategic Plan

The Livability Report summarizes all the results and key findings of the 2019 ACS. It provides the opinions of a representative sample of 399 randomly selected Grand Rapids residents. 

Download the NCS Livability Report(PDF, 202KB)

The report was presented to the City Commission. View the agenda and presentation or review the key takeaways listed below. 

Below is a collection of additional reports and reference documents from the 2019 NCS. The Guide to Understanding and Using Your Reports(PDF, 643KB) gives guidance on how to read the survey results in each of the reports. 


Dashboard: Summary of Findings

Below is a link to the dashboard summary of findings from the NCS. This shows how the survey respondents rated community characteristics within each of the eight factors of a livable community. This report offers a simplified (“rolled up”) quantitative view of the data, as well as comparison details for each question.

Download the NCS Dashboard(PDF, 120KB)


Demographic Subgroups

To tell the story of who responded to this survey, NCS provided a breakdown of responses by demographic subgroups. The report below identifies differences in opinion of respondents, based on:

  • Housing type (rent or own)
  • Age
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Length of residency
  • Presence of children in the household

Download the Comparisons by Demographic Subgroups(PDF, 360KB)


Geographic Subgroups

To tell the story of who responded to this survey, NCS provided a breakdown of responses by geographic subgroups. Grand Rapids is divided into three Wards. The report below identifies differences in opinion of respondents, based on the Ward they live in. 

Download the Comparisons by Geographic Subgroups(PDF, 172KB)


Technical Appendices

This document speaks to the credibility of data and the most granular detail of results. The appendices include the details about:

  • Survey methods
  • Individual response options selected for each question – with and without the “don’t know” option
  • Detailed benchmark results

Download the Technical Appendices(PDF, 2MB)

After the randomly selected survey completed, other community members were invited to participate in an online open participation survey. NSC received 352 responses from the open survey. These results are listed in the document below to avoid altering the validity of the statistically valid survey.

Download the Supplemental Online Results(PDF, 390KB)