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'Voices of the Austin Community' poll results reveal a divided city

Austin skyline lake
New Zandan poll reveals Austin's generation gap. Photo by Katie Friel

Peter Zandan, the founder of the famed Zandan Poll, decided to go local for his next project by analyzing his hometown of Austin.

In a poll that surveyed over 800 locals from Austin and surrounding areas, Zandan's "Voices of the Austin Community" asked questions about everything from affordable housing to how "weird" we are as a city. While some of the results are hardly surprising (traffic is a big issue), one interesting trend did emerge. When it comes to the future, Austin is a city divided — and it's split right down the generation gap. 

When asked how Austin has changed over the past five years, nearly two-thirds of Millennials said that it has changed for the better, versus nearly half of all older generations who say Austin has gotten worse. When asked about the next five years60 percent of Millennials have a positive outlook for Austin. Comparatively, more than half of older generations have negative expectations. 

 When it comes to the future, Austin is a city divided — and it's split right down the generation gap.  

With that generational divide, it should come as no surprise that the one group that Austin is best suited for is "young adults without children." 89 percent of all respondents said Austin was the perfect place to be young and unattached. Considering the median age in Austin is about a decade younger than the rest of the state, there seems to be evidence to back that up.

But where the generation gap closes is on housing and affordability. More than half of all responders are dissatisfied with the cost of housing, the availability of housing and the cost of living. But that doesn't mean they're going anywhere; the majority of Austinites have no intention of moving anywhere else.

Overall, we're pretty happy here in Bat City. Most of us (77 percent) think Austin is "the top city in the U.S." and 87 percent of us are happy in our jobs. This supports the finding that many Austinites feel the strongest sense of community in their place of work, meaning many of us actually like heading into the office every morning. 

Other interesting findings include that 90 percent of folks believe Austin has the best nightlife and 89 percent say we have the best dining and entertainment.

The rest of the survey results will be discussed Thursday night during a free event hosted by KLRU on the University of Texas at Austin campus. Community leaders will join Zandan and civic servants to analyze the findings, and create innovative ways to use the information for real change. To read the rest of the available data, head to the Zandan Poll website.

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