Katie Haugland Bowen

This report looks back over the 35 years of systematic survey research to explore the way area residents have been responding to remarkable trends. It measures their assessments of life in the Houston area in light of the recent drop in oil prices and documents their increasing support for government initiatives to reduce the widening disparities in economic opportunities, as well as their growing comfort with the region’s burgeoning ethnic and cultural diversity. It asks about the bases for the disjuncture so often found between “public opinion”—measured by asking people in the privacy of their homes how they see the world—and “politically effective opinion”—the views that actually get translated into public policy. The survey concludes with an assessment of the similarities and differences in attitudes and beliefs of the residents in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties. 

Issues