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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Voice GR Survey: Rating of City Varies by Group

Mariano Avila

Grand Valley State University’s Johnson Center released the results of the VoiceGR 2015 Survey. Jodi Petersen is the interim director of community research at the Johnson Center, she led a team in surveying about 5,000 Grand Rapids residents, asking them to grade the city as a place to live.

“85% of people said they’d give the city an A or a B as a place to live. So, people overall still are really happy with where they live, but as you break that down you see, again, different experiences.”

And that’s where the strength of the survey comes in, in breaking down that data, or as it’s called, disagregating it. One thing that surprised Petersen as she broke down the data, was how many groups still struggle to meet basic needs.

“People who had associates degrees or less, people that were Black, Hispanic or Multi-racial, people that were living below the poverty line, have a much harder time meeting their basic needs.”

Petersen’s big takeaway is that people shouldn’t just look at the overall rating the city got, but to understand the subgroups that live here.  

“Break that down by geographies, break that down by race/ethnicity, by education level and don’t assume that there is one, shared-lived experience within the city.”  

To look through it visit: http://johnsoncenter.org/resources/community-data/voicegr2015/

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
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