2019 Community Livability Report

communities are partnerships chart

The National Community Survey™ (The NCS™) report is about the “livability” of Montgomery County. The phrase “livable community” is used here to evoke a place that is not simply habitable, but that is desirable. It is not only where people do live, but where they want to live.

Great communities are partnerships of the government, private sector, community-based organizations and residents, all geographically connected. The NCS captures residents’ opinions within the three pillars of a community (Community Characteristics, Governance and Participation) across eight central facets of community (Safety, Mobility, Natural Environment, Built Environment, Economy, Recreation and Wellness, Education and Enrichment and Community Engagement).

The Community Livability Report provides the opinions of a representative sample of 954 residents of Montgomery County. The margin of error around any reported percentage is 3% for all respondents. The full description of methods used to garner these opinions can be found in the Technical Appendices provided under separate cover.

Summary of Report


Residents continue to enjoy a high quality of life and strong sense of safety.

At least 8 in 10 community members gave high marks to the overall quality of life in Montgomery County, as well to Montgomery County as a place to live and raise children, their neighborhoods, the overall image and to the overall appearance of the county. At least four in five were likely to recommend living in Montgomery County to someone who asked and planned to remain in the county for the next five years. About 6 in 10 residents favorably assessed the overall sense of community, and this rating increased from 2017 to 2019.

Residents identified Safety as a priority for the Montgomery County community and most reported feeling safe. Almost all residents gave high scores to their overall feeling of safety, their feeling of safety in their neighborhood and in the downtowns/commercial areas. About 9 in 10 residents reported not having been a victim of crime in the 12 months prior to the survey. Evaluations of safety-related City services (e.g., police, fire, ambulance/EMS) were positive, and ratings for emergency preparedness increased in 2019. When asked about interactions with Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) employees, those who had contact gave positive assessments.

Mobility is a continued asset and positive sentiments increased over the last two years.

When asked to rate the importance of several different community focus areas over the coming two years, Montgomery County residents identified Mobility as one of the most important. Ratings within the facet of Mobility were strong, and all were at least on par with comparison communities. Several aspects of Mobility have been trending up since 2017, including traffic flow on major streets, ease of walking, ease of travel by public transportation, availability of paths and trails, snow removal, sidewalk maintenance, and bus or transit services, among others. Further, ratings for travel by public transportation and bus or transit services in Montgomery County were higher than the benchmarks. Montgomery County also reported much higher levels of using public transportation instead of driving than residents in other communities across the nation.

Community livability ratings are on the rise.

In 2019, Montgomery County residents recorded improvements across all three pillars and all eight facets of community livability. Overall, the number of increased ratings was notably high; of the 134 items for which comparisons were available, 83 items were rated similarly in 2017 and 2019, 48 items showed an increase in ratings and only three items decreased.

Within Community Characteristics, the facets that saw the highest number of improved ratings included Mobility (traffic flow, ease of walking, ease of travel by public transportation, overall ease of travel, ease of public parking, availability of paths and trails) and Economy (shopping opportunities, Montgomery County as a place to visit, vibrant downtowns/commercial areas, overall quality of businesses and service establishments). However, improvements were also noted within Built Environment, Recreation and Wellness and Community Engagement. There were also several notable increases for aspects of Governance when comparing 2017 ratings to 2019. General aspects of County Governance, along with Mobility, Natural Environment and Built Environment saw the highest concentration of rating increases. Montgomery County residents gave more positive assessments to the overall customer service provided by County employees, the value of services for taxes paid to the County, the job the County government does at welcoming resident involvement, overall confidence in County government and generally acting in the best interest of the community. As previously noted, many mobility-related services saw rating improvements from 2017 to 2019. Some of the other highlights included increased assessments of recycling, preservation of natural areas, code enforcement, power utility and utility billing. No aspects of Governance decreased from 2017 to 2019.