Good governance requires good data. Without understanding residents’ basic needs, opinions and ideas, city leaders cannot make quality policy decisions or address important issues within their city. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to listening to residents, such as elections or community meetings, are infrequent or only allow some residents to have a voice. Data-driven approaches often rely too heavily on traditional economic indicators, such as unemployment rates or housing costs, and ignore the lived experiences of residents, leaving potential blind spots about how residents are doing in different parts of the city.
Recognizing the need to develop a new way to regularly assess how residents fare on key dimensions, the City of Tulsa partnered with Gallup in 2018 to develop and conduct a first-of-its-kind citywide survey of its residents. This representative study, which uses address-based sampling, will be conducted on a yearly basis to track the city’s progress in improving quality of life and civic engagement among its residents. Created in partnership with a local working group, the survey identifies strengths and areas for improvement, not only in Tulsa overall but also within specific areas of the city.