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Los Angeles County Residents Hit New Lows in Quality-of-Life Survey

Los Angeles County Residents Hit New Lows in Quality-of-Life Survey

People walk past a homeless encampment near a Target store in Los Angeles on Sept. 28, 2023. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

4/19/2024

Updated: 4/21/2024

Los Angeles County residents are worried about the high cost of living and homelessness and feel less satisfied with their quality of life, according to a University of California at Los Angeles survey published April 17.
The 2024 Quality of Life Index, a UCLA project that measures county residents’ satisfaction, fell two points this year to 53 out of 100. This is the second time in three years the results came in below the survey’s midpoint of 55 since the index launched in 2016, UCLA reported.
“Housing costs have gone up,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, a longtime local politician who sat on both the Los Angeles City Council and the County Board of Supervisors who is now director of the UCLA study. “And incomes have not gone up anywhere near commensurate with what’s happened to housing.”
Those surveyed rated the cost of living only 38 out of 100 this year, a drop from 41 in 2023 and the lowest satisfaction score ever observed for any category in the survey, the university reported.
The lowest scores came from women, Latinas, and renters.
More than half—or 60 percent—of respondents said homelessness in their area has gotten worse over the past year, and many said they fear becoming homeless themselves. Only one-fifth surveyed felt the county’s homeless situation will improve.
Those making less than $60,000 a year expressed the most anxiety over becoming homeless, according to the study.
After nearly a decade of research, Mr. Yaroslavsky said Angelenos love their neighborhoods and find the quality of life is pretty good, but people think government institutions are letting them down, he said.
This year’s survey showed minor changes over 2023 in most categories. The level of satisfaction with education fell three points to 48, the second-lowest score behind the cost of living.
Transportation and traffic jumped eight points in importance compared to 2023, but remained among the three lowest categories in quality-of-life concern, according to the survey results.
The survey also asked residents their opinions of local officials and found most do not favor the county sheriff, mayor, and board of supervisors.
Only 34 percent of respondents viewed Sheriff Robert Luna favorably, a drop of 3 percent over last year’s results.
Mayor Karen Bass was viewed favorably by only 42 percent of respondents, a drop from last year’s 46 percent. Her unfavorable ratings, according to the survey, increased from 23 percent in 2023 to 32 percent this year.
The county’s board of supervisors also lost 8 percentage points in favorability over 2023, reaching only a 27-percent favorable rating, in the current survey.
A minority of Angelenos—only 25 percent—also said climate change had a major impact on their quality of life in the last year, while 38 percent saw a minor impact, the study found.
This year’s Quality of Life index was based on interviews conducted in English and Spanish with 1,686 county residents from Feb. 22 to March 14. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent.
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Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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