National Community Survey

A picture of a City of Grand Rapids logo, landscape and sky containing wording encouraging community members to Make An Impact by completing the 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

2024 National Community Survey Results

Download the summary report(PDF, 3MB)

View full results on

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

2022 National Community Survey

The National Community Survey was carried out by Polco/National Research Council during the spring of 2022 in two phases.

  • Phase one was a statistically validated random sample of residents. Residents received surveys in English and Spanish by mail starting in February 2022. They were asked to complete the NCS either online or by return mail. Responses received resulted in a margin of error of +/-4 percent.
  • Phase two was open to the public. The survey was available online from March 18 through April 1, 2022.

Key Findings

Results were briefed to City Commission on July 12, 2022. The overview presentation provided to the City Commission is available for download below.

2022 NCS Key Findings(PDF, 1MB)

Full Report

You can read the full report and explore data for both phases in the PDF below and online on Tableau.

PDF Report(PDF, 2MB)

View Online Report

Demographic Subgroups

To tell the story of who responded to this survey, NCS provided a breakdown of responses by demographic subgroups.

You can use the comparisons tab in Tableau to sort the data into different demographic subgroups including housing type, age, race, length of residency, presence of children, ward, and more.

Go to the Comparisons Tab

We're providing the two most requested demographic subgroup comparisons – race and ward – in PDF format below.

NCS Results by Race(PDF, 57KB)

NCS Results by Ward(PDF, 55KB)


City Staff used the quantitative results from the NCS as the basis for further qualitative conversations with residents and community members. These sessions happened in conjunction with regularly scheduled Commission Nights Out. The reports are provided here broken out by each Ward.

And explanation of the format is available in a presentation format.


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)