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10 things Houstonians care most about in 2020, according to the latest Kinder survey by Rice University

Downtown Houston views
Downtown Houston views (Will Pryce)

Traffic, the economy, crime, and flooding are among Houstonians top concerns, according to the latest Kinder survey by Rice University’s Institute for Urban Research.

Since 1982, the survey has been used to track Houston-area residents’ shifts in public perception.

Results are based on interviews with more than 47,000 residents.

The following list is unranked and does not reflect an order of priority.

Here are the top things the survey revealed:

1. Economy

Before the coronavirus pandemic caused an economic shutdown and severely lessened the demand for oil and gas, 69 percent of respondents gave positive ratings to job opportunities in the Houston area.

Now, Houstonians are concerned about economic challenges in the months ahead, the survey said.

2. Crime

11 percent of respondents spontaneously mentioned crime when asked to name the biggest issue Houstonians face today.

According to the survey, 17 percent said they were very worried about becoming the victim of a crime. This is the lowest percentage recorded since the question was first asked in 1995.

3. Flooding

11 percent of respondents mentioned flooding as the biggest issue.

According to the survey, Houston residents are more prepared to acknowledge the region’s vulnerability to flooding and recognize the need for new forms of public intervention.

The survey found 65 percent of respondents called for an end to any additional construction in areas of Houston that have repeatedly flooded.

4. Urbanism

The survey found 30 percent of respondents thought traffic was the biggest problem and there was a 50-50 preference for walkable urbanism.

According to the survey, 53 percent of respondents prefer to live in a single-family home with a big yard, “where you would need to drive almost everywhere you want to go,” while 44 percent would opt for a smaller urban-area home within walking distance of shops and workplaces, in lieu of facing traffic and long commutes.

5. Sense of community solidarity

According to the survey, Houstonians seem hopeful to build a sense of solidarity, avoid the temptation to assign or succumb to the “us vs. them” mentality in the wake of health and economic challenges as a result of coronavirus.

6. Educational inequality

The survey suggests Houston residents are increasingly convinced that people are financially underprivileged in America through no fault of their own. More Houstonians are calling for government policies to reduce the inequities and to advance educational opportunities for all.

The survey found 70 percent of respondents were in favor of increasing local taxes to provide universal preschool education for all children.

7. Health insurance

The survey found 72 percent of respondents were in favor of federal health insurance to cover the medical costs of all Americans.

8. Abortion rights

The survey found that the majority of respondents remain firmly opposed to any law that would make it challenging for a woman to get an abortion and they are fully in support of a woman’s right to make that choice herself.

9. Climate Change

The survey found 51 percent of respondents thought the threat of climate change was a very serious problem and 69 percent believe that human activities were primarily responsible for the issue, while just 23 percent continue to blame normal climate cycles.

10. Stray animals

The survey found 64 percent of respondents in favor of contributing more tax money towards efforts to reduce the number of stray dogs and cats in Houston neighborhoods.


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