LA County residents' quality of life rating hits lowest ever, according to annual UCLA survey

High cost of housing is the most important factor impacting the annual survey, mainly among renters.

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Thursday, April 18, 2024
LA County residents' quality of life rating hits lowest ever
According to an annual survey conducted by UCLA, a majority of L.A. County residents are dissatisfied with the overall quality of their lives, citing the high cost of housing.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The high cost of living in Los Angeles County has pushed the satisfaction level of residents back to its lowest ever, with some renters fearing they'll become homeless, according to an annual UCLA survey.

The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs' Quality of Life Index, also known as QLI, gathers responses in nine major categories and about 40 subcategories to produce an overall satisfaction rating. The group surveyed about 1,700 residents.

What were the results of the survey?

According to the survey, 26% of people said they worry about becoming homeless and 37% of the respondents are renters.

This year's overall rating fell two points from last year to 53 on a scale from 10 to 100, marking the second time in three years below the midpoint of 55. That means a majority of respondents are dissatisfied with the overall quality of their lives.

"It's tough," said L.A. County resident Ken Tran. "You think about it ... me and my fiancé have a great job. We get paid pretty well, but everything costs a lot, including housing."

Zev Yaroslavsky, the director of the study, said renters reported being disproportionately affected by economic and inflationary pressures. The study said almost six in 10 (59%) cited housing as the most important factor in their rating.

"People are not satisfied with their quality of life, in most cases, driven by the cost of living and particularly the cost of housing," he said. "This is the lowest rating we've ever had in the nine years we've been doing this survey. It's getting harder and harder to make ends meet in L.A. It's harder to pay for housing. There's some quality of life issues that we're all familiar with that continue to plague us, and inflation is taking a bite out of everyone's paycheck."

The study also says 65% of people say increases in the cost of food and groceries have had a major impact on their quality of life and 56% said rising housing costs also impact quality of life.

"75% of renters do not believe they will ever be able to own a home," said Yaroslavsky. "That wasn't my dad and mom's generation. That wasn't even my generation. I always believed if I worked hard, I would be able to own a home."

Not all bad news

High ratings on the QLI went to relations between people of different races, ethnicities and religions and to how people feel about their health care. The highest rated item? How residents feel about their own neighborhood, that is, as long as they can continue to afford to live there.

This year's QLI is based on interviews conducted in both English and Spanish with 1,686 county residents from Feb. 22 to March 14.

The full report was published Wednesday as part of UCLA's Luskin Summit. To learn more about the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, click here.