2019 survey reveals continued high scores for quality of life; new concern about opioid epidemic

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 Administration • 100 North Fifth Avenue West, Room 202 • Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: (218) 726-2450 • www.stlouiscountymn.gov

Kevin Z. Gray
County Administrator




June 11, 2019

MEDIA CONTACT: Dana Kazel, Communications Manager

218-725-5049 (office) • 218-591-2219 (cell)


2019 residential survey results: quality of life is high, as are concerns about opioid epidemic

The quality of life in St. Louis County is good - better than the national benchmark - and it continues to get better. This is according to county residents who participated in the recent residential survey conducted by the National Research Center, Inc. Characteristics receiving particularly high scores include recreational opportunities, the County as a place to live, and as a place to raise a family.


There are areas of concern. Survey participants also were asked to rate various potential issues; and the opioid epidemic - a new question added this year - was rated as the most problematic. Other issues of concern, including lack of opportunities for young people, condition of county roads and bridges, poverty and homelessness are all seen a problem, but less so than in 2016, the last time the survey was conducted. Lack of jobs, which had been the top concern in 2016, has shown considerable improvement and is now ranked as the sixth most serious concern.


Respondents overall confidence in the St. Louis County government was steady since 2016, but has been rising since 2013, and is comparable to national county averages. County services rated most highly include 911 dispatch and sheriff patrol, both of which consistently are ranked high, but showed even more improvement since 2016.


When asked to rank the importance of various county services, the top three are to: protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect, enforce laws and prosecute criminals, and invest in County road infrastructure.


"We appreciate everyone who took the time to respond to this survey and share their feedback," said County Administrator Kevin Gray. "We use this information as we make decisions on budgets and policy. Commissioners and staff will take all of this information into consideration as we work on the 2020 budget and long range plans."


Complete survey results can be viewed online at stlouiscountymn.gov.


The survey packet was mailed to 2,100 County residents selected at random, and had a 33-percent response rate. Results of the survey are considered statistically valid, with a margin of error of +/- 5 percent.


St. Louis County partnered with four other counties: Dakota, Olmsted, Scott and Washington, to produce the survey, which is being conducted by the National Research Center, Inc. The County conducted similar surveys four other times, beginning in 2007 and most recently in 2016.

Spread across more than 7,000 square miles, St. Louis County is the largest county east of the Mississippi River and is home to 200,000 people.