Los Angeles County residents are optimistic Thursday about their community and the economy, but the good vibrations aren’t as strong as they once were, according to a survey conducted by the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University.
Respondents were asked about their opinions on their neighborhood, city, or the greater L.A. region, and positive responses equaled or approached their lowest levels since the survey began in 2014. Fifty-nine percent said things are headed in the “right direction” in the Los Angeles region, while 67 percent said the same for their city and 74 percent for their neighborhood.
Los Angeles also got its lowest marks in the survey’s history on whether it’s a good place to live, raise children, retire, as well as on questions about safety and quality of life, although most scored better than 70 percent positive.
“While we have seen a decline in enthusiasm, Angelenos remain largely positive about life in L.A.,” said Fernando Guerra, a professor of political science and Chicana/o and Latina/o studies at LMU and director of the center. “It’s not especially surprising, after two years of reactionary policies coming out of the Trump White House, to see this dip in how mostly liberal Los Angeles views life.”
Opinions on the housing crisis were mixed. While 82 percent of respondents said homes are unaffordable for the majority of their neighbors and homelessness is a growing challenge, they were spilt on questions about increased development, local control over housing approvals and homeless shelters, and the effects of gentrification.
“Los Angeles’s complicated relationship with housing and development is long-running, and it’s not going away any time soon,” said Brianne Gilbert, associate director of the center. “Class and income are tied closely to how one feels about gentrification, NIMBYism, and affordable housing solutions. It’s a rare topic that’s divided so closely down the middle, and one that requires real leadership to help resolve.”
The survey was presented at Forecast LA, a conference held Wednesday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The full report can be found at academics.lmu.edu/studyla/events/forecastla/.