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Life Is Good in Dallas

Dallas residents say city is tops for shopping, culture and jobs

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Shoppers at NorthPark Center in Dallas
A whopping 86 percent of Dallas residents rated the city's shopping opportunities as excellent or good.  Photo courtesy of NorthPark Center
Family at Nasher Sculpture Center
A 2013 survey says Dallas' family friendliness is on the rise.  Photo courtesy of Nasher Sculpture Center
Tarra, Dallas Arts District's Summer Block Party, July 2012, hanging cranes, Crow Collection of Asian Art
Dallas residents praise the city's arts and cultural offerings such as the Crow Collection of Asian Art.  Photo by Tarra Gaines
Shoppers at NorthPark Center in Dallas
Family at Nasher Sculpture Center
Tarra, Dallas Arts District's Summer Block Party, July 2012, hanging cranes, Crow Collection of Asian Art

Dallas residents aren't exactly known for being modest about their love of the area. And why should we be? The 2013 City of Dallas Community Survey gives us a collective pat on the back for a wide range of quality-of-life issues.

Most of the 1,431 residents who took the survey rated Dallas as a good or excellent place to live, work and do business. City Manager Mary Suhm says overall satisfaction with services in Dallas is 15 percent higher than the national average for large cities, including New York, Houston, Seattle and San Diego. 

A whopping 86 percent of residents rated Dallas' shopping opportunities as excellent or good, and 80 percent of residents said the same of the city's arts and cultural offerings. 

 Dallas has improved its rating by 5 percent or more in 13 categories since 2011, including job opportunities and family friendliness.

The lowest levels of satisfaction went to Dallas' sense of community, with 45 percent of residents rating it as fair or poor, and air quality, which 51 percent of residents said was fair or poor. 

Thirteen city services received higher than 50 percent satisfaction, including emergency services, trash and sewer services, and traffic signal timing. Customer service from city employees, code enforcement and infrastructure maintenance had lower ratings. 

The survey spanned all 14 city council districts, which all enjoyed roughly the same level of satisfaction with Dallas. "The City of Dallas is setting the standard for service delivery compared to other large cities," the survey reads. 

Fifty-four percent of residents believe Dallas is headed in a positive direction, compared to just 35 percent of residents of other large U.S. cities. Dallas also rates significantly higher than the national average in knowledge, responsiveness and courtesy of city employees. 

The survey says that most other large cities saw decreases in satisfaction ratings during the economic recession, but Dallas continues to maintain high marks. In fact, Dallas has improved its rating by 5 percent or more in 13 categories since 2011, including job opportunities, family friendliness, retirement appeal and safety. 

In the same time period, residents satisfaction with six categories has decreased by 5 percent or more. Notorious issues include neighborhood street maintenance and lighting, fire prevention and education, and the quality of the city's cable TV channel. 

The survey gives street and infrastructure maintenance the highest priority for improvement, followed by police services, code enforcement and water-related issues. 

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