Education, Human Resources, and Nonprofits

Residents grade Grand Rapids

March 3, 2016
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VoiceGR survey
Courtesy GVSU

Grand Rapidians let their voices be heard in an annual survey by a local university.

This morning, the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University released the findings of its 2015 VoiceGR survey, which found that more than 80 percent of area residents give Grand Rapids an A or B grade as a place to live.

Key findings

In the survey, about 85 percent of residents said the city is either an “excellent” or “good” place to live. Ninety-one percent of white, 86 percent of Asian, 80 percent of Hispanic or Latino and 70 percent of African-American respondents gave Grand Rapids an A or B grade.

Participants also indicated that some of the top issues in their neighborhoods included crime and safety, infrastructure and lack of community cohesion.

While nearly 54 percent of respondents felt racism is “very much” an issue in the U.S., 15 percent noted it is “very much” an issue in their neighborhoods.

The center shared several other key findings from the survey: about 63 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that schools in the community are committed to building each child’s strengths; the number of residents reporting an inability to meet their basic needs dropped to 21 percent in 2015 from 24 percent in 2014; and 18 percent of respondents indicated they have a graduate degree or higher, 23 percent noted having a bachelor’s degree and nine percent said they have an associate’s degree.


The Johnson Center for Philanthropy’s VoiceGR survey aggregates data from residents based on questions about the city, safety, work, health care, economy, education and their ability to meet basic needs.

The purpose of the survey is to provide accessible data to nonprofits, governing bodies, businesses and residents.

Responses from about 5,000 greater Grand Rapids-area residents were collected between June and November in 2015 through paper and online surveys.


A full breakdown of the 2015 survey results took place during the VoiceGR Summit 2016 this morning in Grand Rapids at the Salvation Army Kroc Center.

The annual summit is presented by the Johnson Center for Philanthropy’s Community Research Institute and featured special guest speakers: Diana Sieger, Grand Rapids Community Foundation; Jeremy Moore, Spectrum Health; Joe Jones, Grand Rapids Urban League; Milinda Ysasi Castanon, The Source; Nancy Haynes, Fair Housing; and Carol Paine-McGovern, Kent School Services Network.

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