A gloomy Survey

The 2010 Houston Area Survey is out, and not surprisingly the results are pretty gloomy.

Harris County residents this year offered the bleakest assessment of their personal finances, past and future, in the 29-year history of the Houston Area Survey.

Just 20 percent said their financial circumstances had improved in the past few years, half the level of two years ago. Meanwhile, 48 percent said they expected their finances to get better in the next few years, a decline of 10 percentage points from 2008.

Both numbers were the lowest recorded since the surveys began in 1982.


Asked to name the biggest problem facing people in the Houston area today, 38 percent mentioned the economy, 25 percent said traffic congestion and 18 percent replied crime — the same concerns in roughly the same proportion expressed by respondents the year before.

In 2008, however, before the effects of the recession were evident, just 15 percent said the economy was the biggest problem.

Economic worries surfaced in other, more subtle ways as well: More respondents said people who work hard and live by the rules aren’t getting a fair break; a greater percentage agreed that few good jobs exist for people without a college education; and fewer than half agreed that enough good jobs were available for welfare recipients who wanted to work.

You can see the highlights of the Survey here, and the whole enchilada here. I haven’t had a chance to really peruse it yet, so I don’t have anything deep to say. The Survey is always a fascinating read, and a continually updated moving picture of where we are as a metropolis. It’s a heck of a resource to have.

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