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Houston Newsmakers for June 30: Annual survey provides surprising attitudes

HOUSTON – How can Houstonians be anti-abortion and pro-life at the same time? It’s just one of the results of this year’s annual survey sponsored by Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

In this year’s survey, 59% said they believe abortion is morally wrong but “63% said they’re opposed to a law that would make it more difficult for a woman to obtain an abortion," said Stephen Klineberg, the sociologist who started the survey 38 years ago as a class project. 

Traffic is the top sore spot for the 6th year in a row

Every year 1,000 people are chosen by random sampling are asked a series of questions to help determine the thoughts and attitudes of the Houston region. "Traffic" was the answer this year when asked what is the biggest problem facing people in the Houston area today.

Traffic tops at 36% ahead of crime and the economy with 15% and 11%, respectively.  

“We are creating density without urbanism,” Klineberg said. “So we build more and more density and more and more cars, but no way to get around except by the automobile. And now, there are serious plans to try to get a Metro Next and to get new thoughts about that but it’s going to be a central challenge for Houston.”

Lack of money and health care are key core concerns 

One surprising finding this year was just how many people are living on the edge. “Only 60% of everybody in Harris County said they have $400 in savings,” Klineberg said. “Thirty-nine percent said they’d either have to borrow the money or would not be able to come up with it. We have the greatest medical complex in the world, 25% of all the residents of Houston do not have health insurance.”   

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