Marin's random sample resident survey received a 22 percent response rate with 695 completing the survey (on the higher end for our population size) with a 4 percent overall margin of error. Of the 695 completed surveys, 54 were completed online; 92 percent were written responses. All reports can be accessed below, including comparisons by incorporation status, demographic subgroups, and by supervisorial district.
Broadly, most ratings tended to be positive and were similar to ratings observed in comparison jurisdictions. Within the pillar of Community Characteristics, for example, scores within the facet of Safety tended to be higher than those in other communities and items within the Built Environment facet tended to be lower than national benchmarks, where affordable quality housing was a concern. Within Governance, aspects of the Natural Environment facet were more positively viewed than in other communities across the nation.
- Key Finding 1: Marin residents enjoy a positive and healthy quality of life
- Key Finding 2: Marin's economy is strong, but affordability is a challenge
- Key Finding 3: Marin’s natural environment is highly regarded
- Key Finding 4: While automobile traffic is a challenge in Marin, pedestrian and bicycle travel shine
For more information on the Key Findings for the 2018 Survey, view National Research Center's presentation of the findings.
National Benchmark Comparisons
The Resident Survey provided benchmark comparisons to similar communities nationwide, including cities, towns and counties. Comparing the ratings to other similar communities through benchmark comparisons more accurately shows standout areas that Marin is excelling in, or areas with room for improvement. Of 126 questions overall, relative to national benchmarks:
- 19 Marin responses received higher ratings
- 94 Marin responses received similar ratings
- 13 Marin responses received lower ratings
County Benchmark Comparisons
Counties provide more mandated services on behalf of the state or federal government than do cities or towns – for example, social services, mental health or public health services. Over 40 percent of Marin County’s budget is comprised of state or federal revenues, funding which is restricted for dedicated purposes. In addition, counties tend to provide services to broader, more rural and less urbanized communities. Relatively speaking, Marin County compares more favorably to county benchmarks vs. national benchmark communities including cities and towns. Of 126 questions overall, relative to county benchmarks:
- 33 Marin responses received higher ratings
- 90 Marin responses received similar ratings
- 3 Marin responses received lower ratings
Find a the list of communities included in Marin's benchmark comparisons and how we compared to those communities in the Technical Appendices.
To choose the 3,200 scientific survey recipients, a systematic sampling method was applied to the list of households screened for geographic location. An individual within each household was selected using the birthday method. The birthday method selects a person within the household by asking the “person whose birthday has most recently passed” to complete the questionnaire. The underlying assumption in this method is that day of birth has no relationship to the way people respond to surveys. Multi-family housing units were over-sampled to improve response from hard-to-reach, lower-income or younger apartment dwellers.
Selected households received three mailings, one week apart, beginning on November 6, 2018. The first mailing was a pre-notification postcard announcing the upcoming survey. The next mailing contained a letter from the District 1 Supervisor/Board President Damon Connolly inviting the household to participate, a questionnaire and a postage-paid return envelope. The final mailing contained a reminder letter, another survey and a postage-paid return envelope. All mailings were in English and Spanish. Respondents could also opt to take the survey online. Completed surveys were collected over the following seven weeks.
The demographic characteristics of the survey respondents were compared to those found in the 2010 Census and American Community Survey estimates for adults in Marin. The primary objective of weighting survey data is to make the survey respondents reflective of the larger population of the community. The characteristics used for weighting were housing tenure (rent or own), housing unit type (attached or detached), sex and age.
The survey data set was analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).