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Our region is shifting, neighborhoods are changing, and many residents are experiencing those changes differently. As we seek to build the kind of vibrant community that we all want to call home, it is critical to understand the diverse attitudes and perceptions of the people that live in the Greater Washington region.

The Greater Washington Community Foundation is excited to share key findings from Voices of the Community: DC, Maryland, Virginia (VoicesDMV), a community engagement initiative, conducted in partnership with the Urban Institute, designed to lift up residents’ stories and perceptions of the quality of life in the region. Through this initiative, we set out to shed light on the region’s challenges and opportunities related to housing, transportation, safety, economic security, race relations and community well-being. The result is a collection of rich, local data to serve as a catalyst for community investments that will ensure a more equitable, just, and thriving region for all residents.


To Capture Varied Voices, We:

Surveyed more than 3,000 local residents.

Held community conversations in Montgomery County, Northern Virginia, Prince George's County, and Washington, DC.

Conducted focus groups with: Spanish-speaking immigrants, disconnected youth, self-selected middle-class residents, the LGBTQ community, the Muslim community, and the Asian Pacific Islander community.

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What We Found

Well-Being & Satisfaction

People are generally happy with their quality of life, the diversity of our region, and the amenities available to residents, but many are concerned about traffic and congestion, crime and safety, and the high cost of living. Although change has become a constant, the flurry of new development can leave many residents wondering whether those changes will benefit them, or people like them.

Economic Security and Inclusion

Despite an abundance of wealth in the Greater Washington region, shared prosperity remains an aspiration. Faced with the threat of displacement, many households are making the difficult decision to move away from their close-knit communities to find opportunity and economic security elsewhere.

Social Inclusion

The Greater Washington region is one of the most diverse places in the country, and many people feel they fit in here. Although our region is generally viewed as more accepting of people of different backgrounds, discrimination in the community and workplace remains a concern for many residents, particularly people of color.

Making Change Happen

Residents have clear priorities for their local governments, such as protecting people from crime, making sure children get a quality education and maintaining local infrastructure. Although many people trust their local governments to handle local problems, few residents feel they much influence over local government decisionmaking.

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Jurisdictional Breakdowns: