2021 Residential Survey Report

Residents continue to give the community and its public services rave reviews. According to the results of the recently completed survey, residents are overwhelmingly satisfied with Sterling Heights as a place to live, its overall image, quality of life, and as a place to raise children. The City’s public services and the overall direction of the City received similar high marks from residents responding to the statistically valid survey.

The survey, issued in July 2021, was conducted by ETC Institute of Olathe, Kansas with the goal of gathering resident feedback to help prioritize services, gauge satisfaction levels, and formulate future policy. ETC Institute's Director of Community Research Jason Morado presented the findings to the Sterling Heights City Council at the September 20 council meeting.
 The six-page survey, sent to a random sampling of residents, covered a wide range of topics; from the overall perception of the City as a place to live and raise a family to satisfaction with public services including police, fire, code enforcement, parks & recreation, and the public library. The random sample was completed with a 95% level of confidence with at least +/- 4.3%.
 Because ETC Institute is a national leader in municipal surveys, the results of the City’s 2021 Resident Survey are able to be “benchmarked” against other municipalities both regionally and nationally.  According to ETC Institute, Sterling Heights rated at or above the National average in 43 of the 48 categories assessed and rated "significantly higher" in 40 of those areas.  Sterling Heights rated above the North Central regional average in 42 of 48 areas assessed. Sterling Heights rated significantly higher than the Great Lakes regional averages in 39 of those areas.

Overall, 86% of survey respondents indicated they were satisfied with City of Sterling Heights as a place to live, 83% were satisfied with the overall quality of life in the City, 82% were satisfied with the overall image of the City, and 82% believe Sterling Heights is an excellent or good place to raise children. As for overall quality of City services, 77% were satisfied, which is significantly higher than the regional average of 54% and the national average of 59%. In addition, 66% of respondents were satisfied with the value they receive for tax dollars and fees, which is significantly higher than the regional average of 41%, and the national average of 44%.

Another category of note highlighted in ETC’s results was public safety. Ninety-three percent (93%) of respondents felt safe in their neighborhoods during the day. Ninety-one percent (91%) of respondents were satisfied with the overall quality of local fire protection, and 90% were satisfied with how quickly fire department personnel and emergency medical personnel respond to emergencies. Eighty-eight percent (86%) were satisfied with police protection.


Other areas of note include:

Ninety (90%) of respondents were satisfied with the maintenance of City parks; 73% of respondents were satisfied with print collections at the Sterling Heights Public Library; 84% feel City staff are courteous and polite; and 92% of residents agree that Sterling Heights is an inclusive community.


“The survey results confirm my belief that Sterling Heights is a great place to live and residents appreciate the quality public services our employees deliver every day,” said Sterling Heights Mayor Michael C. Taylor. “The fact that Sterling Heights ranks so highly when compared to municipalities across the United States is confirmation that the City’s focus on quality public services and placemaking makes a huge difference with our residents. These survey results will continue to guide our Council’s decision-making moving forward.”

Sterling Heights City Manager Mark Vanderpool said he’s extremely pleased with the high marks from the 2021 Residential Survey.

“The high scores represented in the survey are a direct reflection of the outstanding performance from City employees,” Vanderpool said. “They deserve the credit. There are also opportunities to improve in key areas identified by the survey results. Specifically, our challenge is to increase the visibility of police officers in neighborhoods and retail areas as well as enforcing local traffic laws, further enhance code enforcement efforts in neighborhoods, and continue to emphasize improvements to both neighborhood and major City streets while managing traffic flow. Our hiring of seven new police officers dedicated to neighborhood patrols will help increase that visibility. We, of course, will also continue to explore additional ways for our residents to engage with their City and provide the critical input we need to keep Sterling Heights a world-class community.”

The full survey results, report from ETC, maps and other supporting documents are available on the City’s website here.