2022 State of Buckhead Survey: The Results
By Denise Starling, Executive Director, Livable Buckhead
Every two years Livable Buckhead surveys the people who live in, work in and visit Buckhead. We ask them to share their perceptions of the community – where they think Buckhead shines and where they think there is room for improvement.
It’s important for us to ask these questions, even if we don’t like all the answers. The responses guide Livable Buckhead and others that are addressing our community’s challenges and building on its strengths.
So what did we learn from the 2022 State of Buckhead survey?
As we saw in 2020, the majority of respondents have positive perceptions of Buckhead’s shopping and dining, and they love to live here because we have good schools and good jobs, as well as easy access to many areas of the city. Specifically:
- The most widely agreed upon beliefs about Buckhead are that it has the best shopping in Atlanta (68% agree), offers the best schools and education in Atlanta (60% agree), is the most attractive place to live in Atlanta (59%), is a great place to raise a family (58% agree) and has the best restaurants in Atlanta (55% agree).
- The most common top-of-mind associations for Buckhead are crime and safety concerns (11%), beauty and trees (10%) and wealth/affluence (10%). Associations with crime declined from 2020 levels, while associations with beauty and affluence increased.
There were some notable shifts in perceptions of crime and public safety in Buckhead since 2020:
- The percentage of people who named crime as the most important issue facing Buckhead declined from 66% in 2020 to 50% in 2022.
- Two years ago, 32% of respondents agreed that Buckhead is a safe place to live. That figure increased to 41% in 2022.
- Perceptions of personal safety in Buckhead remain in an undesirable range but have improved. In 2020, 28% of people reported feeling safe in Buckhead. That figure increased to 41% in 2022.
What specifically do people in Buckhead want done in their community?
- Crime prevention measures (77%) topped the list of most important improvements followed closely by road maintenance (73%) and pedestrian safety (69%). Newcomer issues trash/recycling pickup (57%), stormwater infrastructure improvements (54%) and tree protection (52%) showed up strong, while affordable housing was relatively weak at 33%. The importance of improvements to transit, bicycling infrastructure, events and public art also increased.
- Respondents’ top three suggestions for decreasing crime in Buckhead were unchanged from 2020: increasing police presence (62%), imposing harsher penalties on those committing crime (29%) and better enforcement of laws (25%).
The survey also collected important information about Buckhead’s commute habits, opinions about potential affordable housing solutions, awareness of local greenspace projects and participation in sustainable practices:
- People are working from home more frequently than they expected to be after the pandemic. In 2020, two out of five survey respondents anticipated working from home at least three days a week. The 2022 survey shows that more than half of respondents work from home at least three days a week, including 30% who work from home every day.
- Nearly half (47%) of respondents support the inclusion of accessory dwelling units in Buckhead’s single-family neighborhoods while 40% support increasing housing density within half a mile of MARTA transit stations.
- The overwhelming majority (83%) of respondents are aware of PATH400 and two of three are likely to use it. Three of five respondents said they are likely to use HUB404, the proposed nine-acre park capping GA 400.
- Involvement in sustainability-related practices declined in 2022, while interest remained similar to levels seen in 2020. Curbside recycling through city services saw the largest decline in participation, from 71% in 2020 to 57% in 2022.
- The most popular sustainability-related activities are using energy efficient appliances or light bulbs (68%), curbside recycling (57%) and purchasing eco-friendly products (52%).
Overall, we’re encouraged to see many signs of improvement since 2020, particularly when it comes to perceptions of safety. But it is also clear that there is still a lot of work to be done, and we are looking forward to collaborating with city and community leaders to ensure that the next State of Buckhead survey shows even more progress.
The State of Buckhead online survey was fielded from Sept. 7 through Sept. 28. The survey yielded 2,847 completed questionnaires, which provides an average margin of error of ± 1.8%. A report of key topline findings is available on Livable Buckhead’s website.