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2003 Citizen Survey Results

Fort Collins as a Community

The first section of the survey questionnaire asked respondents to rate Fort Collins as a community on seven different community attributes and overall. Table 1 lists the attributes and the distribution of responses on a scale ranging from "very bad" to "very good."

Table 1: Community Attributes and Distribution of Performance Rating Responses

 

Percent of 785 Respondents

Very Bad

Bad

Average

Good

Very Good

No Opinion

As a place to raise children

0.0%

0.8%

6.7%

36.8%

39.8%

16.0%

As a place to retire

0.5%

5.5%

16.3%

33.8%

23.5%

20.4%

As a place to attend college

0.0%

0.7%

7.9%

41.5%

41.3%

8.6%

As a place to work

2.5%

8.1%

29.2%

38.0%

17.8%

4.4%

Safety of community residents

0.5%

1.1%

17.2%

53.2%

26.3%

1.5%

Community respect and tolerance for all people

1.5%

5.8%

30.9%

46.1%

14.1%

1.5%

Community willingness to help people with special needs or problems

0.5%

2.4%

23.3%

45.3%

18.5%

9.8%

Overall, as a place to live

0.0%

1.1%

9.4%

52.2%

35.7%

1.5%

In order to make valid comparisons between the ratings for different community attributes, and to track each attribute's ratings over time, respondent ratings were averaged and converted to a 100-point scale. Respondents who selected the "no opinion" option for any given attribute were not included in its average rating.

Table 2 lists the community attributes from highest to lowest average rating, along with the 95 percent confidence interval for each. The average rating for Fort Collins overall, as a place to live, is shown in the last row of Table 2. Although some variation in average ratings exists between attributes, all are in the range of "good". The 95 percent confidence intervals indicate the reliability of the average ratings. To elaborate, if this survey were repeated 100 times, with 100 different randomly selected samples of the same size, 95 out of 100 times the average rating score for each attribute would be within the confidence interval shown. Using the attribute "as a place to raise children" as an example, the 95 percent confidence interval is used to infer that the adult population of Fort Collins would give it a rating within plus-or-minus 2.8 points of the average of 84 points.

Table 2: Community Attributes and Average Performance Rating Scores

 

Number of Respondents
Expressing an Opinion

Average Rating Score
87.6 to 100 = Very Good
62.6 to 87.5 = Good
37.6 to 62.5 = Average
12.6 to 37.5 = Bad
0 to 12.5 = Very Bad

95 Percent
Confidence Interval

As a place to raise children

660

84

+/-2.8

As a place to attend college

719

84

+/-2.7

Safety of community residents

774

76

+/-3.0

As a place to retire

626

73

+/-3.5

Community willingness to help people with special needs or problems

709

72

+/-3.3

Community respect and tolerance for all people

774

67

+/-3.3

As a place to work

752

66

+/-3.4

Overall, as a place to live

774

81

+/-2.8

The community attributes rated with this survey were also rated with the 2001 survey. Figure 1 compares the two years. Average rating scores have remained largely unchanged. The only statistically significant change is in the rating of Fort Collins as a place to work, where the average rating declined from 73 in 2001 to 66 in 2003. This decline is probably a reflection of economic conditions, and the frustrations that many citizens may experience in finding and maintaining employment.

Figure 2: Fort Collins as a Community

Figure 1

As part of the assessment of Fort Collins as a community, the survey questionnaire asked respondents to list three things they most like about living in Fort Collins. The features that citizens find most attractive seem to be the city's location, size and people. Many respondents remarked that Fort Collins has been able to maintain a small-town "feel", while offering the material and cultural advantages of a larger city.

Table 3: Things Liked Most About Living in Fort Collins

 

Percent of 785 Respondents

Mentioned First

Mentioned Second

Mentioned Third

Total Mentioned

Proximity to outdoor venues

18.2%

17.5%

11.6%

47.3%

Climate

16.4%

7.3%

7.3%

30.9%

Size of Fort Collins: small town atmosphere with amenities found in a larger city

13.0%

6.6%

6.2%

25.7%

Community and people

6.8%

9.2%

7.3%

23.3%

Clean and well maintained

2.4%

4.5%

4.8%

11.7%

Downtown/Old Town

2.9%

4.3%

4.6%

11.7%

Beauty and scenery

5.2%

4.6%

1.3%

11.0%

College town

4.1%

1.9%

4.0%

9.9%

Parks

3.5%

4.1%

1.9%

9.4%

Quality and diversity of cultural/entertainment activities

1.8%

3.0%

4.3%

9.0%

Safety

3.0%

3.9%

2.1%

9.0%

Schools

3.2%

2.3%

2.5%

8.1%

Bike trails

1.6%

4.0%

2.5%

8.0%

Shopping

1.7%

1.9%

4.1%

7.6%

Restaurants

2.5%

2.5%

2.5%

7.5%

Convenience: everything close, easy to get around

2.4%

1.5%

1.6%

5.5%

City services/government

1.0%

1.3%

2.3%

4.5%

Family/child friendly

1.4%

0.7%

1.5%

3.5%

Public transportation

1.2%

1.1%

0.6%

2.9%

Proximity to Denver

0.2%

1.4%

1.1%

2.7%

Design, architecture

0.4%

0.6%

1.6%

2.6%

Quality of medical care

0.1%

1.4%

0.9%

2.4%

Affordable

0.6%

0.7%

0.5%

1.7%

Jobs/economic opportunity

0.0%

1.2%

0.2%

1.4%

Programs/services for seniors

0.2%

0.4%

0.3%

0.9%

The survey questionnaire also asked respondents to list three things they dislike most about Fort Collins. Table 4 summarizes these items. By a rather large margin, traffic was the most frequently mentioned item. The only other single item mentioned by a large proportion of respondents was the cost of living and housing.

Table 4: Things Disliked Most about Living in Fort Collins

 

Percent of 785 Respondents

Mentioned First

Mentioned Second

Mentioned Third

Total Mentioned

Traffic

42.7%

16.5%

6.0%

65.2%

Cost of living/housing

7.1%

10.4%

6.3%

23.8%

Traffic lights not synchronized

5.4%

3.0%

2.2%

10.6%

City Government

2.8%

4.1%

2.8%

9.6%

Growing too fast

2.6%

3.7%

2.3%

8.6%

Lack of jobs

3.4%

2.7%

2.1%

8.2%

Lack of ethnic diversity

2.7%

2.0%

2.0%

6.6%

Inadequate public transportation within Fort Collins

1.1%

2.3%

1.8%

5.2%

Sprawl

1.2%

2.0%

1.8%

5.0%

Crowding

2.6%

1.4%

0.9%

4.9%

Low paying jobs

1.8%

1.1%

1.2%

4.2%

Lack of shopping

0.8%

1.6%

1.5%

4.0%

Smoking ban

0.7%

1.2%

1.9%

3.8%

Lack of parking

0.1%

1.5%

1.9%

3.6%

College students

0.9%

1.4%

1.2%

3.5%

Police

1.5%

1.2%

0.5%

3.1%

Lack of cultural opportunities

0.7%

0.9%

1.5%

3.1%

Noise

1.4%

1.4%

0.2%

3.0%

Chain stores

0.1%

0.9%

1.6%

2.6%

Condition of roads

0.6%

1.2%

0.8%

2.6%

Weather/climate

1.3%

1.2%

0.1%

2.5%

Too many rental properties

1.0%

0.9%

0.6%

2.5%

Inadequate snow removal

0.7%

1.4%

0.2%

2.3%

Taxes

0.2%

1.2%

0.8%

2.2%

Road construction

0.5%

0.1%

1.3%

2.0%

Too conservative

0.7%

0.4%

0.7%

1.8%

Crime/vandalism

0.2%

0.8%

0.5%

1.6%

Lack of planning

0.1%

0.8%

0.6%

1.6%

Pollution

0.1%

0.7%

0.7%

1.5%

Lack of mass transit to Denver

0.3%

0.5%

0.8%

1.5%

Newspaper

0.1%

0.2%

0.8%

1.1%

Too liberal

0.4%

0.6%

0.1%

1.0%

Poor recycling program

0.0%

0.5%

0.5%

1.0%

Rude/careless drivers and bicyclists

0.3%

0.6%

0.2%

1.0%

Cost of water

0.2%

0.5%

0.3%

1.0%