NYC Speaks Unveils Results of Largest Public Policy Survey in NYC History
62,000 New Yorkers responded on topics including public safety, housing, transit, mental health, broadband, workforce policy, child care and climate change
Findings and community engagement events will culminate in Action Plan to inform Adams administration, city policy
Additional video, images and data graphics are available here.
April 5, 2022 (New York, NY) – NYC Speaks, a six-month citywide civic engagement and government transformation initiative to inform the priorities and policies of Mayor Eric Adams and his administration, unveiled the results of the largest public issues-oriented survey in New York City history yesterday alongside City Hall officials and community organizations during a rally at Hunters Point South Park.
With over 62,000 responses, yielding 3 million data points, New Yorkers from across the five boroughs responded to a 27-question survey on topics including public safety, housing, transit, mental health, broadband, workforce policy, child care and climate change.
Full results of the survey are available on the NYC Speaks Dashboard at nycspeaks.org/data, where data points can be viewed by income, race, gender and more.
Building off the results of the survey, NYC Speaks will launch “Community Conversations,” in partnership with 50 community-based organizations, the city’s three public library systems and YMCAs, where New Yorkers can discuss the quantitative data and provide insight into the final NYC Speaks Action Plan—which will outline a tangible course of government action for the Adams administration this June. Registration for the Community Conversations is available here.
“After extensive community outreach across the five boroughs, we surpassed our goal of 50,000 responses to conduct the largest public policy survey in New York City history. In addition, we are proud to announce that 18,400 youth between the ages of 14 and 17 responded to this survey,” said Dr. Shango Blake, Co-Executive Director of NYC Speaks. “We’re proud to release this data today but this is just the first step in the process. We look forward to launching the Community Conversations to engage the community on our findings and build a stronger, more thriving city.”
“Too often, New Yorkers are asked what they believe about policy and then left to wonder what will happen with their input,” said José Serrano-McClain, Co-Executive Director of NYC Speaks and Partner at HR&A Advisors. “We are proud not only to have heard from 62,000 New Yorkers on the NYC Speaks survey, but to bring that data back to communities across the five boroughs. We are excited to see how both quantitative and qualitative data can shape the future of public policy and investment in New York City for years to come.”
“The NYC Speaks initiative demonstrates the power of a public-private partnership and my office was proud to lead the agency outreach,” said Sheena Wright, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives, City of New York. “Never has our city seen such a large set of data from New Yorkers before. We look forward to continuing this work in the coming months and aim to turn the survey results, Community Conversations and city staff ideas into actionable policy for New York City.”
“New Yorkers know best what is happening in their communities, and how our city can best show up for them to secure healthy and prosperous neighborhoods. NYC Speaks is an ambitious effort to bring New Yorkers from all walks of life into that conversation, and I’m eager to dig in on the data about what they have to say about how to make our neighborhoods safer, secure more affordable housing and build a robust economy where everyone can thrive. I look forward to working with Mayor Adams and the City Council to bring the voices of New Yorkers into the work to ensure city government can be a vehicle for our shared prosperity,” said Comptroller Brad Lander.
“As the only city agency to name building trust in local government as central to its mission, the Civic Engagement Commission recognizes just how critical bringing together city agencies, community-based organizations and residents is to identifying solutions and collectively prioritizing the health and future of our democracy,” said Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Chair and Executive Director of the NYC Civic Engagement Commission. “NYC Speaks is first of its kind in NYC and we are proud to partner on this initiative.”
“The Muslim Community Network (MCN) is honored to be the grantee of an initiative that is directly aligned with our mission—using civic education and leadership development to shape the public narrative about what it means to be Muslim in the US. Throughout the month of April, which is also the month of Ramadan, MCN will be hosting four community events to help inform the priorities and policies of the Eric Adams administration. I cannot think of a more befitting time to activate our faith, through civic engagement during the month of Ramadan,” said Reda A. Taleb, Community Education Program Coordinator at the Muslim Community Network.
“With 15% of Asian population in NYC, we successfully engaged 14% of our community members in this largest-ever policy survey. I wanted to acknowledge my two community partners, Parent-Child Relationship and United Chinese Association of Brooklyn, and other Asian CBOs for working closely together to go ‘door to door’ speaking to individuals about this initiative. With the strong community partnerships, we were able to provide and speak five different Chinese dialects to engage community members to understand the issues that are most important to them,” said Wai Yee Chan, Executive Director of Homecrest Community Services.
Rigorous outreach efforts by NYC Speaks and its coalition of government and civic partners led to a diverse and representative selection of New Yorkers, in 11 languages and across every zip code in the city. 27% of respondents were Black, 14% were Asian and 29% were Hispanic, in line with the respective percentages of the population overall. In addition, 33% of respondents were white. Every age group above 18 and every income bracket responded to the adult survey.
The survey—made for New Yorkers, by New Yorkers—was open for four weeks from the weekend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day through February 11, 2022 and developed in partnership with 80+ Civic Policy Council members, with agency outreach spearheaded by Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright’s team.
- Across all income levels and races, New Yorkers named housing as their first priority for creating safe neighborhoods, with the exception of AAPI respondents earning under $35K/year ranking “more police presence” first and housing second.
- New Yorkers continue to prioritize housing as an issue overall, emphasizing a need to preserve affordability while making housing safer.
- Housing resources were cited as a top choice for content in a centralized app and website of City services.
- Adult respondents supported a multi-faceted approach to public safety.
- After housing, adults earning less than $35K/year emphasized a need for more police while those earning over $35K/year prioritized mental health and first responders.
- Increased police presence is a top priority for middle-aged New Yorkers and homeowners.
- Youth respondents placed greater emphasis on public design and improving police-community relations, over increased police presence.
- Black respondents earning under $35K/year cited access to economic opportunity as a top priority for neighborhood safety.
- More than affordable fares or shorter wait times for public transit, New Yorkers across all races and ethnicities want the City to help them feel safer while riding public transit.
- Safety and maintenance were top priorities for all respondents, while non-white and Hispanic respondents prioritized less expensive fares over shorter wait times.
- Nearly one third of female respondents and older demographics expressed wanting to feel safer when riding or walking to/from public transit.
- Black + Hispanic New Yorkers emphasized investments in vehicular infrastructure over public transit.
- Investment in public mobility infrastructure was prioritized among those earning over $50K/year.
- Youth respondents across race and ethnicity groups want to see closer access to public transit from their homes, particularly among AAPI.
- Adults in the outer boroughs most want to see affordable recreation centers while youth across the city most want to see affordable, high-speed internet access regarding neighborhood public infrastructure investments.
- Making libraries/schools accessible for community use was increasingly prioritized among elderly age groups and those earning under $35K/year.
- Households earning less than $35K/year were most likely to prioritize citywide benefits over that of individual neighborhoods.
Mental Health / Healthcare
- More than 1-in-5 New Yorkers prioritize providing mental health professionals and social workers in every school.
- Youth respondents also supported more resources for victims of domestic violence and those suffering from addiction and support services.
- A majority of respondents support a public option for child and elder care across race and ethnicity groups.
- New Yorkers prioritized diverse staff, funding for programs serving disadvantaged students and mental health services as key investments in our public education system.
- NYC youth would like to see more support services available and more voice in decision-making.
- Respondents prioritized equitable resource distribution and representation among staff as ways to improve learning outcomes for students of color.
- New Yorkers want to see greater access to fresh foods at home and school, with expansion of government nutrition programs like SNAP.
- Respondents indicated a leading factor in building healthier communities is increasing access to healthy and affordable foods.
- NYC youth prioritized access to healthy foods and recreation, particularly affordable hot food and healthy food in schools.
- Following historic flooding after Hurricane Ida, New Yorkers expressed support for investment in flood protection for homes.
- Respondents also favored making energy upgrades to public/affordable housing and expanding programs to make energy upgrades more affordable for low-income homeowners.
- Youth prioritized helping communities buy their own energy-efficient systems and technology as a way of ensuring environmental justice.
Economic Mobility / Job Access
- New Yorkers cited affordable education, workforce training and free childcare as top priorities for economic mobility.
- NYC youth support a multi-faceted approach to ensuring every New Yorker can find a job that pays well, with an emphasis on education and training.
- Adult respondents favored expanding minimum wage and paid leave benefits to more freelance / gig workers.
- Adult respondents prioritized expanding legal services for immigrant communities while youth respondents favored expanding sanctuary protections and language resources.
- All income, age, race and ethnicity groups ranked employment opportunities as the primary way the City can support formerly incarcerated individuals.
- New Yorkers support an approach to equity and racial justice that spans interventions of institutional reform, financial investment and education.
- More than half agreed NYC should provide reparations. 83% of Black respondents were in favor vs. roughly one third of AAPI respondents.
- Adult respondents showed a preference for a varied approach to civic engagement centered around transparency, accountability and community-led planning.
- New Yorkers favor investments that support small businesses and prioritize community voice in approving/incentivizing large new development projects.
About NYC Speaks
NYC Speaks is a six-month citywide public engagement and people-driven government transformation initiative that is engaging tens of thousands of New Yorkers to inform the priorities and policies of the Eric Adams administration. The effort, a public-private partnership between the new administration and a growing network of community leaders and civic institutions, is hosted by Goodnation Philanthropy Advisors, managed by HR&A Advisors in partnership with Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright’s team, and backed by some of New York’s largest and most innovative philanthropic organizations, including Ford Foundation, Robin Hood, Open Society Foundations, Trinity Church Wall Street, New York Women’s Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, New York Community Trust, and FWD.us Education Fund. A crucial phase of this initiative will be facilitating how policies and programs emerging from the process can advance through co-investment with both government and philanthropic support. For more information about NYC Speaks and to participate in upcoming events visit nycspeaks.org.