ISSUE: What’s the Big Deal About the Citizen Satisfaction Survey?

FACT: The survey, conducted every two years since 1995, rates citizen satisfaction with city services and programs, and helps guide the priorities of Council in areas that need improvement. 
Overall, 93% of our residents say they are satisfied or very satisfied to live in Virginia Beach, and 90% are satisfied with city services overall. And frankly, that’s not entirely a surprise. Our city is consistently ranked highly in national studies that reflect these findings.  In 2019, Wallet Hub named us the number one best big city to live in and the most caring city in America. We also made the top ten list for best run large city, hardest-working city and safest city.

Nearly 8 in 10 respondents (77%) believe they receive a good value for their tax dollars, and satisfaction with individual City services is equally positive. Notably, the fire department has a 100% satisfaction rating among residents. 

​Other departments and services scored 90% or higher, including:​
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Libraries
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • 911 and 311 call centers
  • Volunteer Resources
  • Farmers Market and Agricultural services
  • Disaster recovery efforts
  • City and neighborhood overall appearance

There are also areas where some notable improvement was highlighted with increases from 6-11%:
  • Efforts to address effects of flooding and sea level rise
  • Our community is a safe place to live
  • My neighborhood is a safe place to live
  • Planning and construction of new roads and residential development
  • Opportunities to share ideas and opinions ahead of City decisions
  • Communication efforts
  • Job opportunities

Like any good research, the survey also tells us what areas could stand to be improved. The following scored less than 70% on the survey:
  • Traffic flow
  • Efforts to address sea level rise and recurrent flooding
  • Services for homeless families
  • Mental health and intellectual disability services
  • Planning of new roads and residential development
  • Maintenance of existing roads and bridges

​Now, it’s worth mentioning that a couple of those categories mentioned above also saw notable improvement at the same time. Progress is being made on those fronts and will continue to be made. 

Some might say “well, 90% satisfaction isn’t 100%!” And they’re right, it’s not. But it’s also a simple fact that 100% of the people will never be 100% satisfied with everything. What we can do, however, is continue to ensure that Virginia Beach is a premier city to live, work and play in.

Compared to other cities, Virginia Beach continues to rank highly. Compared to our 90% overall satisfaction rating, our neighboring cities of Chesapeake and Hampton scored 94.7% and 90%, respectively, during their last surveys. Looking farther abroad Denver, Colo. had a 70% rating and Wilmington, North Carolina came​ in with 58%.  Links to their surveys can be found in the sidebar to the right.​

So what does this mean for residents? Well, quite simply, your input matters. So the next time you see a survey come along looking for resident input, or a notice for a public meting – jump in and joint the conversation! Every voice makes a difference.