What’s At Issue Here? New York Metro Area Residents on the Problems That Concern Them Most

November 3, 2015

This report summarizes the findings from the 2015 Public Agenda/WNYC New York Metro Area Survey. Residents of the New York metropolitan area feel trapped by rising costs, stagnant wages and a lack of opportunity. At the same time, government gets low ratings on the issues people are most concerned about, and a majority of residents agree that government is mainly responsive to the rich. Still, people are willing to try new government policies and volunteer their time to address key concerns. The survey was conducted between June 29 and July 21, 2015, with 1,535 residents in the New York metro area, including New York City, Long Island, southern New York State, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut.

We explored our findings with Brian Lehrer on his daily WNYC show – you can listen to those segments here. We also examine the results in a report and series of blog posts, which you can access below.

How much do these views reflect your concerns, whether you live in the New York metro region or not? Tweet us your thoughts with the hashtag #NYMetroSurvey.

The Public Agenda/WNYC Survey is the first annual Deborah Wadsworth Fund Project and is possible thanks in large part to the generosity of our donors. The survey will help inform our next annual Deborah Wadsworth project, through which we’ll seek to find collaborative solutions to an issue local residents care and worry deeply about.

Does this work interest you? Please donate to the Deborah Wadsworth Fund today to support our continued work in the New York metro area. As a donor to the Deborah Wadsworth Fund, you will receive an invitation to the announcement of our second annual Deborah Wadsworth Project in November!


The Public Agenda/ WNYC New York Metro Area Survey was conducted between June 29 and July 21, 2015 with 1,535 residents in the New York metro area, including New York City, Long Island, Southern New York State, Northern New Jersey, and Southern Connecticut. Additional responses were collected from 219 residents on a small subset of questions between August 25 and September 4, 2015. Some questions were posed to random subsamples of the overall sample, including the reported questions on people’s view on policing and crime, which explains why the total number of responses on these questions is smaller than the total survey sample. Data were collected via phone, including cellphone, and online, and weighted to be representative of known demographics in the region.

Download the Topline.

Priced Out Of The Market? Cities Where The Middle Class Can No Longer Afford A Home
(USA Today, Wednesday, August 15th, 2018)

Is NYC really a land of opportunity? Not so much, according to one study
(Brick Underground, Friday, January 6th, 2017)

MORNING INSIDER City aims to close small-biz gender gap
(Crain’s New York, Thursday, November 19th, 2015)

Police-Community Relations Strained With Groups Where Police Needed Most
(Philanthropy New York, Thursday, October 22nd, 2015)

New York’s Middle-Class Squeeze
(CityLab, Tuesday, October 20th, 2015)

City vs. Suburb Mentality
(The Brian Lehrer Show, Friday, October 16th, 2015)

How We Really Feel About Police Presence
(The Brian Lehrer Show, Thursday, October 15th, 2015)

How to Divvy Up the Tax Pie
(The Brian Lehrer Show, Wednesday, October 14th, 2015)

Further confirmation that the middle class in NYC (and the surrounding areas) doesn’t have it so easy
(BrickUnderground, Tuesday, October 13th, 2015)

Solutions to Inequality
(The Brian Lehrer Show, Tuesday, October 13th, 2015)

The Way We Really Feel about Government, Policing, and Inequality
(The Brian Lehrer Show, Tuesday, October 13th, 2015)

Poll Finds Affordability a Serious Problem
(WNYC News, Monday, October 12th, 2015)

Survey: How NY area residents feel about the wealthy, high cost of living
(Metro New York, Monday, October 12th, 2015)

The Middle Class Connundrum
(The Brian Lehrer Show, Monday, October 12th, 2015)