SEATTLE (November 14, 2017) – Half of residents believe the Puget Sound area is growing into a “world class” region in terms of economic opportunities and quality of life, according to a new Atlantic Media/Allstate Regional Renewal Poll released today. The broader outlook among Puget Sound area residents is even more bright, with 69 percent saying the region is moving in a positive direction, despite real concerns about the region’s ability to manage rapid population growth and maintain affordability for average families. Young people in particular are enthusiastic about future opportunities, with 76% of millennials weighing in to say the area is headed in the right direction.
The Atlantic Media/Allstate Regional Renewal Poll asked residents living in the Puget Sound region about their perceptions of the area’s living standards, growth, personal finances, community engagement, and benefits of the region.
Quality of Life and Managing Growth
When considering the opportunities and challenges brought about by recent growth, more than three quarters of millennials say the region is moving in a positive direction; 69 percent of Generation Xers and 61 percent of Baby Boomers are similarly enthusiastic. This optimism for the region is tempered, however, by concerns about whether this fast population growth will benefit everyone in the community. Seventy percent of all respondents believe the Puget Sound region’s population growth benefits only a few and creates obstacles for average families, and 50% of all respondents think the growth has had a negative impact on the region (vs. 41 percent who see a positive impact).
Three quarters (75 percent) affirm the Puget Sound region is best for their career and family life, and 65 percent indicate that staying in the area provides more opportunities for young people than other parts of the country.
Seven in ten locals consider the region unprepared to handle the population growth; however, residents living within the city of Seattle are more optimistic than any another demographic that the area can handle the changes (35 percent).
In terms of local quality of life, 72 percent believe that a combination of residents, businesses and government working together towards a shared goal is the most effective way to improve their communities’ quality of life, compared to stand alone reliance on more business investment (9 percent) or more local government investment (7 percent).
“Seattle area residents are extremely positive about the region’s long-term trajectory and the growing economic opportunity it provides,” said Atlantic senior editor Ronald Brownstein, who supervises the poll. “But that optimism is clearly tempered by concerns about the implications of the region’s success for congestion, housing affordability and the ability of middle-income families to thrive here. Seattle, like many New Economy centers, has moved far past the fears of decline that gripped most major cities not long ago. But in these flush times, it is now grappling with the very real problems of success.”
“The Puget Sound region is a national model of how American cities can evolve to manage success and maximize growth opportunities,” said Brian Walsh, Allstate Field Senior Vice President, based in Bothell, WA. “Allstate is dedicated to helping local communities thrive by supporting small businesses and encouraging innovation at the local level through programs like The Renewal Project.”
Financial Health and Minimum Wage
Puget Sound residents are split when it comes to their current financial situations, with 45 percent stating that they can live comfortably and save for retirement, while 44 percent get by each month, though have difficulty saving or investing. In terms of Seattle’s step up to a mandatory $15 minimum wage, residents are both hopeful and skeptical of the new law’s impact:
A plurality (47 percent) says the minimum wage increase will have a positive impact on the region’s economy.
Slightly more than half (52 percent) believe families will be able to more easily pay their bills and save money, while 78 percent express concern that costs for consumer goods and services will rise.
Two-thirds (67 percent) believe businesses will reduce hours or layoff employees and 57 percent say employers will create fewer jobs as a result of the initiative.
Non-profit and Volunteer Support
Non-profit groups and volunteer organizations are particularly active in the Puget Sound region, with 91 percent of residents saying that these groups make their presence known.
More than three-quarters (77 percent) of residents say companies in the region are engaged in addressing the area’s needs and concerns.
When considering devoting their own time to a local cause, two-thirds of locals cite work (34 percent) or family obligations (32 percent) as their biggest obstacles to volunteering.
In addition to job opportunities, Puget Sound residents tout the region’s environmentally friendly energy use and future climate neutral vision (76 percent) and mild climate (81 percent) as among the key reasons for attracting residents. In addition, the must-see attractions and landmark companies provide national and international draws.
Almost all residents (96 percent) highlight Pike Place Market and the Seattle Waterfront as must see attractions, just ahead of Mount Rainier (86 percent) and the Space Needle (81 percent).
Residents also celebrate the large organizations headquartered in the region, citing Microsoft (27 percent), The Gates Foundation (20 percent), Amazon (12 percent) and Costco (11 percent), as the corporations they are most proud to have based in the area.
The accessibility of quality doctors and hospitals (86 percent), quality of parks and recreational opportunities (85 percent), and relations between residents of all backgrounds (70 percent) are proclaimed high-quality aspects of their community.
The poll is part of an ongoing editorial and marketing partnership between Allstate and The Atlantic. The centerpiece of the partnership is The Renewal Project, a social-first website and newsroom run by Atlantic Media Strategies, the creative agency and consulting arm of The Atlantic, that spotlights individuals and organizations advancing social good and contributing to civic innovation in America.
The Allstate/The Atlantic Renewal Project Poll investigates the views of Puget Sound Region residents across the 4-County Core Metro Area, including King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. The poll was conducted by FTI Consulting from September 20-24, 2017. The survey included a sample of 400 adults, age 18+, living in the Puget Sound Region, which were reached via cell phone (n=200) and landline phone (n=200). The margin of error for a sample of 400 is +/- 4.9 in 95 out of 100 cases.
About Allstate Corporation
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life’s uncertainties through auto, home, life and other insurance offered through its Allstate, Esurance, Encompass and Answer Financial brand names. Other growth platforms include predictive analytics company Arity and consumer-product protection plan company SquareTrade. Allstate is widely known through the slogan “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®.” Allstate agencies are in virtually every local community in America. In 2016, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate, its employees and agency owners gave $42 million to support local communities.
About The Atlantic
Founded in 1857 and today one of the fastest growing media platforms in the industry, The Atlantic has throughout its history championed the power of big ideas and continues to shape global debate across print, digital, events, and video platforms. With its award-winning digital presence TheAtlantic.com and CityLab.com on cities around the world, The Atlantic is a multimedia forum on the most critical issues of our times—from politics, business, urban affairs, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. The Atlantic is the 2016 National Magazine of the Year. Bob Cohn is President of The Atlantic.
About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations manage change, mitigate risk and resolve disputes: financial, legal, operational, political & regulatory, reputational and transactional. With more than 4,700 employees located in 29 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges and make the most of opportunities. The Company generated $1.81 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2016. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com and connect with us on Twitter (@FTIConsulting), Facebook and LinkedIn.