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A healthy majority of Dakota County residents like their living situation and approve of their county’s governance and public services, according to the 2022 Residential Survey.

The survey was conducted by the National Research Center at Polco, a public opinion research firm that has surveyed Dakota County residents every three years since 2006. 

Based on the survey results, overall quality of life for Dakota County residents remains high. 91 percent of county residents responded that their overall quality of life is good or excellent.

On a 100-point scale, Dakota County residents rated their overall quality of life as a 78, which falls between “good” and “excellent” on the research center’s scale. This year’s score dipped slightly from 2019’s result of 80, but it still ranks much higher than the national benchmark. 

Dakota County ranked first among peer counties nationally in six key survey topics: economic health of the county, county libraries, knowledgeability of county employees, management of tax dollars, acting in the best interest of the community and county’s aptitude for providing information to residents.

Dakota County placed in the top five nationally in 10 other areas compared to that same group of counties. It also fared better in many categories stacked next to four other Minnesota counties that conducted similar surveys: Olmsted, Scott, St. Louis and Washington counties.

Residents strongly approved of the public services provided by Dakota County. 

97 percent said the parks are good or excellent, and 95 percent felt the same way about the libraries. At least 70 percent of those surveyed rated Dakota County as good or excellent in its road conditions, greenways, snow removal and overall service quality.

Residents expressed concern about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the local economy and on the health and safety of vulnerable populations. However, nearly 70 percent of the residents gave the county good or excellent marks for its COVID-19 services.

More affordable housing was found to be a chief concern of Dakota County residents.

Additionally, while residents reported that they generally feel safe in the community, they did communicate that they have growing concerns about crime and safety issues. 19 percent of residents identified crime and safety as their most important issue in the survey.

Another key finding of the survey was that Dakota County residents enjoy and value the county’s parks and natural spaces. While they did express concern for environmental issues, the residents surveyed strongly supported the county’s usage of funds to protect natural resources.

The survey is designed to help inform the Dakota County Board of Commissioners on which issues are important to residents and how well the county is serving the public. 

“We pride ourselves at Dakota County on providing high-quality services at a good value for our taxpayers,” Board Chair Kathleen A. Gaylord said. “We are pleased to see that the quality of these services and the way county staff delivers them continues to be recognized and appreciated by our residents.”

The survey was mailed in February and March to 4,200 households, split among the seven county commissioner districts to ensure balance. Nearly 650 residents participated in the survey, resulting in a statistically valid representation of county residents, within a range of plus or minus 4 percent.

To view the entire Residential Survey results and learn more about how the survey was conducted, visit www.dakotacounty.us, search residential survey. 

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