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UCLA studies shows LA County residents' dissatisfaction level remains high

UCLA's quality of life study finds LA County residents dissatisfaction level remains high
UCLA's quality of life study finds LA County residents dissatisfaction level remains high 02:40

A new study from the University of California, Los Angeles shows that the satisfaction level of residents is at its lowest-ever level, driven by renters feeling pessimistic about their futures. 

The quality of life index, conducted by UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs, reveals that despite the picture perfect living scenario, surrounded by beaches, delicious food and plenty of nature, people living in Los Angeles are experiencing dissatisfaction levels higher than ever before. 

Cost of living in the area remains one of the most pressing issues for Angelenos, with the study showing that many people are concerned about losing their homes and putting food on the table.  Of the people studied, 90% say that homelessness in their living areas has gotten worse just in the past year, and only 20% were more hopeful than they were last year about the ever-pressing homelessness crisis in LA County. 

The survey uses nine categories to analyze residents' satisfaction levels, and this year's overall rating dropped two points from last year's 53 on a scale from 10 to 100. 

This is the second time in the last three years that it fell below the midpoint since the school launched the index in 2016. The highest-ever satisfaction ratings came in 2016 and 2017, when the total score was 59. 

The cost of living rating dropped by three points, making it the lowest satisfaction score ever observed for a single category on the survey. This comes at a time that gas, food and rent prices seem to skyrocket across the nation. 

While all major demographic subgroups rated the cost of living negatively, the lowest scores came from women, Latinas and renters. 

Zev Yaroslavsky, the director of the UCLA study said that renters are being disproportionately affected by the economic pressures and inflation facing the area. Nearly 60% cited that housing was the most important factor in their rating. 

"Housing costs have gone up," Yaroslavsky said. "And incomes have not gone up anywhere near commensurate with what's happened to housing."

The study shows a stark difference between two different housing demographics, with more than 60% of homeowners claiming to feel optimistic about their economic future and over 50% of renters reporting feelings of pessimism. 

On top of that, only 23% of renters believe that they will be able to purchase a home that they would want to live in at some point in the future. 

"We discovered very little optimism about whether the current programs and efforts to eradicate homelessness will work," Yaroslavsky said. 
People were also asked if they were worried about experiencing homelessness themselves, with the highest levels of anxiety being expressed by people living in households that earned less than $60,000, renters and Black residents. 

"Despite the best efforts of state and local officials, the public is more negative and less hopeful about solving homelessness," Yaroslavsky said. 

The survey only showed minor changes from last year's index for most other categories. The education satisfaction level fell three points to 48, which is the second-lowest score behind the cost of living, while transportation/traffic remained among the survey's lowest three categories. 

Remote work remained highly favored with more than two-thirds of respondents wishing they could do so at least some of the time. 

Just under 1,690 people were interviewed for the quality of life survey, which was conducted over 30 days starting on Feb. 22. They say that the margin of error is plus or minus 3%. 

Outside of the quality of life, the survey also examines approval ratings for local elected officials like Mayor Karen Bass. Her levels showed a 42% favorability among respondents, the most of any public official. The numbers were a drop from last year, however, when she was viewed as 46% favorable and 23% unfavorable. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna was rated 34% favorable and 26% unfavorably. Los Angeles City Council members in respondents' respective cities were fairly positive with 37% favorable and 32% unfavorable, while the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors were viewed more negatively at 35% unfavorable and just 27% favorable.

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