Today In Surprise

City of Surprise News

Posted on: May 7, 2018

Residents love their city; focused on safety & economy in National Citizen Survey


The 2018 National Citizen Survey (NCS) results reveal more than 8 in 10 residents rate the quality of life in Surprise as excellent or good; and they recommend living here.

The NCS serves as the city’s service report card, and the collected data assists in setting future city priorities.  According to the survey, the areas that are most important to Surprise residents are safety and the economy. 

The survey captures residents’ opinions within three community pillars: Community Characteristics, Governance & Participation. These are broken down into eight categories:  Safety, Mobility/Transportation, Natural Environment, Built Environment, Economy, Recreation & Wellness, Education & Enrichment and Community Engagement. 

Overall, ratings in Surprise for 2018 remained stable from the 2015 NCS. Of the 132 items, for which comparisons were available, 106 were rated similarly/ 23 decreased/3 increased.   And across the eight overall categories a majority of the city’s results were similar to 200 or more peer cities across the United States. 

The city rated above the national benchmark in the following categories:
 (% selected excellent/good) 

  • 89% Surprise as a place to retire
  • 80% Sidewalk maintenance
  • 72% Variety of housing options
  • 66% Affordable housing
  • 63% Cost of living
  • 62% Street repair

A majority of residents (96%) recycled at home and 95% feel safe in their neighborhood.  Overall appearance of the city (cleanliness) also rated well (84%). Employment opportunities rose 7% since the 2015 survey and rated as similar to the national benchmark.

Survey results continue to indicate a need for more public transportation options which rated much lower than the national benchmark. Residents ages 18- 35 gave less favorable ratings to Education/Enrichment and Community Engagement than respondents over 35; and they were less likely to remain living in Surprise over the next five years.  

While the survey indicated a need for public transit; when asked to identify a funding source the Strongly/Somewhat Support responses were very low: 31% favored a New Transit Tax; 30% supported GO Bonds for vehicles only; and 18% supported a property tax increase.

Residents continue to rate investing in water resources; completing streets; and protecting the White Tank Mountains as high-to-medium priorities for the city.

93% of respondents say they utilize the city’s website to access city news and information and when asked for ways in which they would like to engage with the city, 68% wrote in social media and the website as their top connections.

The 2018 NCS was conducted by Boulder, Colorado-based National Research Center (NRC) from February - March 2018. The survey was sent to 1,500 randomly-selected Surprise households. The overall response rate was 23%. The margin of error is +/- 5%. Results were weighted as to not have one particular demographic dominate response. 

For the first time, the NCS was offered online March 5 – 19.  454 online surveys were received.  The paper and online datasets were not combined. NRC survey conductors found quite a few more disparities in ratings than they typically see.  Online participants were more likely to be middle-aged or female than the mailed paper respondents.  The online results were similar in that more than 8 in 10 residents rate the quality of life in Surprise as excellent or good and they recommend living here.

The City of Surprise would like to thank those residents who participated in the survey.   

To see the complete results for the paper and online survey; or to view previous surveys visit

See press release...
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