Residents give Edinburgh living the thumbs up

Resident satisfaction with the Capital as a place to live remains very high, according to the Edinburgh People Survey 2018 – the largest study of its kind in Scotland.

City Centre view

Of the 5,170 respondents to the survey, 95% gave Edinburgh the thumbs up as a place to live, while 65% said they were satisfied with the way the Council manages the city.

The Edinburgh People Survey (EPS) was carried out independently on the Council's behalf in every ward between September and December 2018. 

In it, respondents agreed that the Capital is an inclusive and diverse city, with 83% perceiving neighbourhoods as a place where people from different backgrounds can get on well together and 84% saying they felt safe in their neighbourhood after dark. 

Edinburgh was described as welcoming and accessible by 91% of respondents and more people (67%) were confident about their job prospects in the Capital than in 2017 (65%). 

In terms of the city centre, 93% were happy with public transport to and within the city centre, with 90% rating the area's leisure amenities (restaurants, bars, cinema, theatre) and 83% satisfied with the city centre for shopping. 

From a leisure and recreation perspective, satisfaction with parks and greenspaces remains high at 80%, while 72% believe Edinburgh's festivals make the Capital a better place to live. 

More respondents reported an improvement in their personal finances over the previous 12 months - 19%, up from 16% in 2017. More than half of those surveyed reported feeling safer cycling on the city's roads (51%) , compared with 47% in 2017.

However, mirroring a downward national trend, satisfaction with refuse collection and recycling, roads and pavement maintenance and street cleansing has fallen since 2017. Edinburgh People Survey respondents also felt that vandalism, graffiti, antisocial behaviour and dog fouling had become more common in their neighbourhood over the past four years, with people also less satisfied with the way the Council is handling community safety issues.

Council Leader Councillor Adam McVey said: “It’s hugely encouraging to see that once again residents are extremely happy with life in the Capital and that the vast majority feel safe and included in their communities - testament to how diverse and welcoming Edinburgh is.

"The EPS gives us an invaluable insight into the impact our work and decisions have on public perceptions across the city, helping us understand our communities and their experience of our services so we can direct our energy and resources where they’re most urgently needed. The survey results will inform our future plans so that we can deliver the best possible services for this great city and for everyone who calls it home.

“Surveys like this also highlight our ongoing challenges, such as the dip in satisfaction with services including refuse collection and recycling. We're now making real improvements in our waste and roads management, with improvement plans for both areas already bearing fruit. Our roads condition is now above the Scottish average and our pothole repair performance is getting significantly better. Meanwhile the brand new Millerhill recycling and energy recovery centre will divert many thousands of tonnes of waste from landfill and drive up recycling rates for both us and Midlothian Council.

"The EPS was conducted when the new waste collection arrangements got under way, as well as the chargeable brown bin service - undoubtedly the issues experienced while these changes were bedding in will have coloured people's responses to the survey. I'm happy to report that things have settled down significantly since the autumn and we will keep driving performance up through our Waste Improvement Plan.”

Depute Council Leader Councillor Cammy Day said:

"I want to thank everyone who took the time to take part in this survey, which will help us enormously as we work to prioritise and plan services over the next year and beyond. 

"It's great that our residents give life in Edinburgh such a strong seal of approval and there's much for us to be proud of in their responses, like the ease of travelling on public transport to and around the city centre, feeling safer cycling on our roads and satisfaction with our parks and greenspaces. 

“For all the positives, the survey has clearly also shone a light on the areas where we need to do better. We will harness these results to drive foward our work to improve the city so that everyone can share in its success.”

Key findings in the Edinburgh People Survey 2018 include:

  • Residents continue to be happy with life in Edinburgh, with 95% of participants satisfied. 89% are also content with their neighbourhood as a place to live
  • 84% of citizens feel safe in their neighbourhood after dark, while most don’t think violent crime (83%), graffiti and vandalism (71%) or antisocial behaviour (72%) are issues in their area
  • Two thirds of residents (66%) attended a festival in Edinburgh in the last two years, with 72% believing festivals make the Capital a better place to live
  • More than half (51%) of respondents feel safe cycling on Edinburgh's roads, up from 47% in 2017
  • When contacting the Council over the last year, as many people used the website (14%) as the telephone (14%)
  • 64% agree the Council cares about the environment
  • 51% think the Council keeps them informed about the services it provides, with 57% agreeing they receive information in a form that suits them
  • Edinburgh’s parks and greenspaces are highly thought-of, with an 80% satisfaction rate
  • 36% of respondents had used the library in the previous 12 months, with 82% satisfied with the service
  • More than two thirds of citizens are confident about their job prospects in Edinburgh, up 2% compared to 2017

The Edinburgh People Survey is undertaken through face-to-face interviews (lasting approximately 16 minutes each) with residents across the city’s 17 multi-member wards, conducted in the street and door-to-door.

Members of the Corporate Policy and Strategy Committee will consider the survey results on Tuesday 14 May.

Download the full report.

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