Each year, the Atlanta Regional Commission and its partners conduct the Metro Atlanta Speaks survey, similar to Houston's Kinder Houston Area Survey

The survey, which was completed by more than 5,400 people from Atlanta's 13 metro counties, offers a snapshot of Atlanta residents' views on various urban issues including transportation, housing, the economy, education, neighborhood quality, crime and other characteristics.

The 2019 results of the Atlanta survey, released Friday, found 28% of respondents identifying transportation as their top concern, which is the sixth straight year this issue has topped the list. Crime followed at 18% and public education at 10%. The 2019 KHAS results also showed transportation as the primary concern of many Houston residents, with 36% saying traffic is the biggest problem in the Bayou City. 

Housing concerns within Atlanta are high. Nearly half (46%) of residents said they wouldn't be able to afford staying in their community if they had to move today. Neighborhood characteristics are also changing — 57% of residents say older homes in their areas are being replaced by new, more expensive housing, and 68% say they live in areas where homes are being "flipped" and resold or rented at higher prices. 

“This year’s survey makes it clear that housing is a big concern in our region,” said Doug Hooker, ARC executive director, in a release. “The Metro Atlanta Housing Strategy provides a strategic, regional approach to address this critical issue. As a region, we must take action if we are to maintain our economic competitiveness and remain a great place to live.”

The Metro Atlanta Housing Strategy also launched on Friday. The strategy identifies six overarching strategies: increasing the housing supply, preserving present affordable housing units, reducing housing and transportation costs, expanding capital resources, promoting housing stability and developing leadership and collaboration. 

“Our goal is to enable communities to share tactics and lessons with one another, to help foster a more balanced mix of housing options, reflective of each community’s specific housing needs,” Hooker said in a press release.

“Low housing costs are what attracted many of us to move here, and it helped to fuel our tremendous growth. Yet today, about one-third of our region’s households are cost-burdened, spending more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing.”

The Atlanta survey revealed that 35 percent of residents said they wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 financial emergency, or could do so only by selling something or borrowing money. Comparatively, the 2019 KHAS results showed nearly 39% of Houstonians wouldn't be able to come up with the money at all and would just not pay the expense. 

To interact with the full Metro Atlanta Speaks Survey, visit the interactive ARC dashboard here.