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2020 Quality of Life Survey


Nine hundred residents shared their views through telephone and online opinion surveys conducted in the first half of 2019. Key findings are summarized, including ratings for different aspects of life in Flint. Ratings are based on a scale of one to five, in which five means “very positive” and one means “very negative.” For more information about how the ratings were calculated, see Methodology.


This section highlights survey results regarding what’s working and what needs improvement. If a section of Focus on Flint does not include information about Things to Celebrate or Things to Improve, it’s because the survey didn’t yield responses to fit the categories.


In addition to results of the opinion survey, Focus on Flint shares information that local nonprofit organizations and agencies have reported hearing from the residents they serve.


Support for the organizations and programs presented in bold text includes funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which produced this report. To learn more, visit the Foundation’s website,


Each section includes data and statistics that illuminate strengths of the Flint community and highlight challenges. These facts were collected through opinion surveys of Flint residents; from city, state and federal agencies; and from local nonprofit organizations. The Flint surveys were conducted in the first half of 2019. Unless otherwise noted, all remaining data are from 2018.


This section highlights organizations and programs working to address issues in the Flint community and provides information about how to connect with them.


Focus on Flint explores nine important issues facing the local community: Arts and Culture, Economy, Education, Health, Housing, Public Safety, Quality of Life, Standard of Living and Water. This section describes why each issue is critical to the community and summarizes work underway.

A key goal of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation’s Focus on Flint initiative is to track year-to-year findings of what Flint residents are saying about life in the city and what’s important to them.

With new survey data gathered in 2020 from a representative sample of 800 respondents, this update highlights residents’ perspectives on nine key issues that were explored in the initiative’s first report to the community in 2019. Recognizing the unique challenges posed by COVID-19, it also features residents’ thoughts and concerns regarding the pandemic and its impact.

We hope that this and future Focus on Flint reports will serve as a springboard for ongoing community conversations that could help to keep Flint moving forward and inform the Foundation’s local grantmaking.


As in 2019, the Focus on Flint 2020 survey asked residents for their perspectives on issues related to quality of life in Flint. Below are the average ratings of those surveyed, with an arrow indicating if a rating increased or decreased from the prior year, or an equals sign if the rating was unchanged.

Residents’ evaluation of Flint on the issue of: 2020 2019  
The city’s water supply 1.9 1.8
Arts and culture 3.7 3.6
The economy 2.4 2.4
Education 2.4 2.6
Housing 2.3 2.2
Public safety 2.4 2.3
Supporting residents’ health 2.9 2.8
Supporting a good standard of living 2.5 2.5
Supporting a good quality of life 2.6 2.5


The 2020 survey also asked residents about the impact that COVID-19 has had on their lives. Their responses indicate that since the onset of the pandemic:

  • 40% needed services they had not previously required, including:
    • Access to food: 18%
    • Financial assistance: 15%
    • Medical, health services: 10%
  • 41% experienced a loss in employment due to job elimination, temporary layoffs or other reductions in work hours or wages. Of those, 65% reported feeling confident that their employment and wages will be restored in the coming year.
  • 60% of those with children ages 19 years or younger expressed concern for their children’s feelings of loneliness or isolation as a result of school closures.


A total of 800 residents contributed to this update by sharing their views about various aspects of life in Flint. Their opinions were collected through telephone and online interviews conducted in August 2020 by FM3 Research, a nationally respected pollster. Respondents answered many survey questions with a number from one to five to help capture intensity of feeling, with five meaning “very positive” and one meaning “very negative.”


The Mott Foundation led editorial efforts for this update. We were joined and supported by FM3 and Behr Communications, who conducted the community opinion surveys and analyzed the results. Olmsted Associates in Flint provided design assistance to communicate the survey results.

More information about other aspects of the Focus on Flint initiative, including the Mott Foundation’s community engagement activities and grantmaking response, is available at

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