Before we get into the details of the analysis, a big thank you to everyone who responded to our second survey. This survey was focused on residential options for our downtown. While we did not get as many responses as we did for the retail/restaurant survey, we hope that this report helps paint a picture of the residential possibilities.
First, we have to state that due to the lower response rate, this survey is not statistically significant. So what does this mean? It means that we did not get a representative sample that accurately reflects the community at-large. What does this mean for the results? It means that we have some bias and that it is not prudent to draw conclusions that would reflect how the entire community feels about downtown residential living.
Second, there was some conversation about the survey on social media and we would like to explain some of our methodology.
- A number of questions were perceived as personal.
- Part of understanding who would consider living in the downtown is focusing on affordability, type of housing desired and lifestyle choices.There have been many opinions about the type of residential living in the downtown but no data to back up those opinions.Primary research needed to be conducted to give us some of the answers.
- Affordable housing is hard to find.
- We agree. The median household income in Carson City according to the US Census Bureau for 2015 was $63,148.Folks are finding it difficult to find affordable rental options as well as options for ownership with the low inventory in the real estate market.We hope that real estate developers are listening.
- Cost of the survey
- The survey was developed entirely in-house to minimize the cost.No outside contractors were used. To develop the survey, research was conducted looking for other cities that have recently conducted surveys. It was also a goal to have enough questions to get valid data but not be too long for responders.
- Also, since the downtown was the first business corridor to be redesigned, we are using this project as a template for other activities. With regard to future projects or other areas of town, we may ask different questions depending on future plans.
- In getting the word out about the survey, we sent news releases to the Nevada Appeal and CarsonNow as well as created a post for the city’s Facebook page. As we saw lower response rates, we contacted selected real estate agents to share the survey through email, social media and word of mouth. While our initial efforts were broad in nature, we felt that our secondary efforts with real estate agents were similar to how we contacted downtown stakeholders with the retail/restaurant survey.
Hopefully that answers some of the questions. So let’s get to the numbers!
Question #1: If there was a type of residential choice you liked in downtown Carson City, would you choose to live downtown?
With a 2 to 1 margin, our responders would choose to live downtown. As you will see later, our responders were different from the demographic makeup of citizens of Carson City. They are more likely to own their residence, decidedly female, Caucasian, more educated, with higher incomes and get their information about downtown through online resources.
Question #2: If you answered YES to Question #1, what type of residence would you choose? Check ALL that apply.
While most of the responses were focused on multi-family options, responders were looking for ownership options as opposed to rentals. This is most likely skewed by the demographics of ownership in the data.
Question #3: If you answered YES to Question #1, why would you want to live in downtown Carson City? Check ALL that apply.
With central location, convenience and community scoring high, these responders also commented about being close to restaurants, historic buildings and events.
Question #4: If you answered YES to Question #1, would you prefer a downtown residence that was Residential Only or a Mixed Use Development (shared with office and/or retail)?
While there is a leaning toward Mixed Use Development, the responders had no preference.
Question #5: If you answered NO to Question #1, why would you NOT choose to live downtown? Check ALL that apply.
It is clear that the choice to not want to live downtown is primarily due to being comfortable with current living arrangements. The comments also reflected a sense that these responders live in Carson City for the lack of density. The comments also reflected that the responders don’t like the extended stay motels, feel downtown is stagnant and is not convenient.
Question #6: What is your perception of the cleanliness of downtown Carson City?
A big thank you to everyone who takes the time and effort to keep downtown clean, especially the downtown business owners and the city’s Parks & Recreation department. It is making an impact when 86% of our responders think that downtown is either clean or very clean.
Question #7: What is your perception of the level of safety in downtown Carson City?
A big thank you to everyone, especially the Sheriff’s Office, for making a huge impact on the perception that downtown is safe.
Question #8: Do you support on-street parking meters in downtown Carson City?
If there was any question, it is clear now that on-street parking meters should not be considered.
Question #9: Are you currently renting or do you own your residence?
According to data from Business Decision, a consumer-level database available through the Carson City Library, 59% of residents own their residence and 41% rent. This is one of the reasons for asking questions that were perceived to be personal. We don’t want anyone making decisions thinking that the survey results are directly reflective of the community at-large.
Question #10: What is your current monthly rent or mortgage payment?
This result in conjunction with the income result later supports the idea that responders are in a higher socioeconomic group than the average resident therefore biasing the overall results.
Question #11: Where do you live right now?
There appears to be a bias as to where our responders live. The West side is over-represented while the South side appears to be under-represented. This seems to follow the pattern of other biases in the data.
Question #12: Where do you work or go to school right now?
It would seem that there is an opportunity for downtown residential options with only 2% of the responders living downtown but 21% work downtown. The 16% that currently do not work or go to school could reflect a significant number of responders that are retired.
Question #13: What is your gender?
According to the American Community Survey, as of 2015, males made up 51.3% of the population and females made up 48.7%. We are not sure how this bias skews the data but it is something to take into account when reviewing the results of the survey.
Question #14: What is your ethnicity/race?
According to 2015 data from the US Census, Caucasian’s make up 71% of our population and Hispanic/Latinos make up 21%. It is apparent that we need to do a better job of connecting with non-Caucasian populations in our community in order to get data that is representative of our community.
Question #15: What is your current living arrangement?
According to the 2010 US Census, 30% live alone and 62% live with family members. This data is also supporting that our survey results are biased.
Question #16: How many people currently live at your residence including you?
According to the 2010 US Census, 30% live in a 1-person household, 35% live in a 2-person household, 26% live in a 3-4 person household and 9% live in a household with 5 or more people. Again, our data is biased toward 2-person households and does not fairly represent single person household.
Question #17: What is your highest level of education?
According to the 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-year estimates, our data is also severely biased. The ACS data for 18 years old and greater is:
- 14% with less than a high school diploma,
- 29% with a high school diploma or equivalent,
- 38% with some college,
- 12% with a bachelor’s degree
- 7% with a post-graduate degree or higher.
This shows that the responders are more educated than the community at-large. No conclusions can be drawn from the data unless the target market has a higher level of education than the general community.
Question #18: What is your current employment status?
With our local labor force participation rate (the percentage of people 16 or over in age and employed) hovering around 55%, this is yet another indication that our survey data is biased.
Question #19: What is your household income?
This result also confirms that the data is biased. The 2015 ACS data in these categories reflects a populace that earns far less that our responders. The ACS data is:
- Less than $15,000 – 13%
- $15,000-25,000– 10%
- $25,000-50,000– 25%
- $50,000-75,000– 20%
- $75,000-$100,000 – 14%
- Greater than $100,000 – 18%
Question #20: Where do you shop for groceries? Check ALL that apply.
- Convenience Store – 46%
- Costco – 59%
- Farmer’s Market – 69%
- Raley’s – 49%
- Smith’s – 8%
- Walmart – 30%
- Save Mart – 34%
- Grocery Outlet – 7%
- Whole Foods – 3%
It is apparent that the bias has crept into the shopping choices as well. With the Farmer’s Market greatly outpacing a full-service grocery store like Smith’s that is centrally located and close to downtown, tells us that we missed a significant segment of the Carson City population.
Question #21: How often do you shop for groceries?
Question #22: What is your best method of finding out information about downtown Carson City?
While CarsonNow showed up with a low number, it was entered as a comment in the “Other” response. We speculate that many of the “Internet” responders most likely are looking at CarsonNow.org and the Nevada Appeal’s website. Again, this is a pretty tech aware group of responders and this is contradictory to the data that says that the newspaper is still a major source of information. Our responders just may not feel they are getting their downtown information in the newspaper.
Here is a sample of the comments that were provided by our responders.
- Any new structures must be historically appropriate.
- Downtown looks great, but it would be nice to put in effort to make the whole town look great not just downtown.
- Please look at Midtown. That is what we need in Carson.
- I see no value in the recent changes to the quality of life or economic health of the city at large.
- If a project were built, it would be good to have a convenience store or small grocery within walking distance.
- Parking and ease of access to downtown is the key.
- I believe that the two hour parking downtown is not enforced and needs to be in order to have customers, not for the downtown business owners.
- Please no more Mexican restaurants or gas stations are needed in this town.A Panera Bread would be a nice addition.
- The biggest problem in Carson City Downtown is the Ormsby House. Fix it first!
- I love downtown but am very disappointed by the planters, the rest is beautiful.
- More restaurants and a grocery store downtown would be great.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please contact Michael Salogga, Business Development Manager at 775-283-7122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.