LOCAL: A survey of shoppers conducted by the Buy Local Campaign steering committee showed that the majority of residents believe it is important to shop locally but Santa Monica needs more stores like Target or K-Mart. Pictured: Shoppers make their way down the Third Street Promenade. (File photo)

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories about the results of the Wellbeing Project’s index. The initial report is 142 pages long. Today’s story is an overview of the findings deemed significant by City Hall. Over the next several days, the Daily Press will break down the stats within the document itself.

Traffic and mobility is the most-cited concern among Santa Monicans. Where’s my million dollars?

City Hall unveiled the key findings from its Wellbeing Project, which is being paid for by a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies and, among many other data points, traffic and mobility was found to be a top concern.

“The Index provides a higher resolution portrait of how well decisions and policies work, and to what extent they are creating positive progress,” city officials said in a release. “Based upon wellbeing science and emerging research, the Index brings together data from wide-ranging sources, across multiple dimensions, to provide a comprehensive picture that will guide local action.”

The index paints a picture of Santa Monica as a place with many residents who have a high quality of life and others who feel alone, overworked, and unheard by local government.

According to the index, 79 percent of the population votes (this contradicts voter turnout numbers from last year’s election, when 48 percent of registered voters cast ballots) but 41 percent of residents said they feel “their civic influence is limited” and another 36 percent say they feel disengaged from the city.

Another stat deemed notable by City Hall is the fact that two-thirds of residents live within a five-minute walk of goods and services.

On the flip side, while 80 percent of Americans say that they feel they can count on their neighbors, only 66 percent of Santa Monicans felt the same way.

And one out of every five young adults, ages 18 to 24, reported feeling lonely most or all of the time. A third felt concerned about missing rent or mortgage payments.

Nearly a quarter of respondents mentioned traffic of mobility as areas for wellbeing improvement in open-ended sections of the survey.

“Residents were also concerned about affordability for future generations,” city officials said, “with more than half feeling that it is unlikely that their children will be able to stay in Santa Monica.”

As previously reported in the Daily Press, biking is way up in the Bay City in recent years.

Seniors showed the highest levels of wellbeing and adults aged 45 to 54 and the lowest levels, according to the report.

The project is being conducted by the Santa Monica-based RAND Corporation and the U.K.-based New Economics Foundation.

The index has more than 100 distinct data points.

Preliminary data can be viewed on City Hall’s website at www.smgov.net/wellbeing.


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