Quality of life survey 2023

Strategic framework image

As part of our vision to make Cambridgeshire greener, fairer and more caring, we have launched our annual countywide quality of life survey.

Read our Strategic Framework document (opens as a .pdf) to find out more about the seven ambitions we have developed to achieve our vision.

The annual quality of life survey aims to track the responses over time to see how changes to our decisions and policies – and the work of other public sector bodies in the county - affect people’s views, and to give our Members vital insight when they make business planning decisions. 

Our first survey involved more than 5,500 residents. Thank you to all those who took part.

Survey summary

1. Overall, residents have good quality lives in Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire residents report strongly across a range of quality of life (QoL) metrics.

72% report high or very high levels of happiness, over half have no health concerns, 84% report feeling safe in their area, 75% feel they belong in Cambridgeshire and 77% say it’s a good place to raise children.

2. However, it’s not a perfect picture for everyone…

Some groups are more likely to have more negative scores across key QoL metrics: younger people, renters, disabled residents, ethnic minority respondents and those from lower SEGs.

And, like the nation, rising costs are worrying the County, with 86% saying this is a concern.

3. The Council play a relatively trusted role in residents’ lives

52% say they trust Cambridgeshire, and 44% see the Council delivering value for money.

This is roughly in line with national averages.

4. Satisfaction with waste management and lights is high…

79% say they are satisfied with waste management services, and 72% with street lighting – core services offered by the Council.

Registration and library services are also drivers of satisfaction amongst those who use them.

73% say they are dissatisfied with road services.

In open questions, potholes and road services are most spontaneously raised as frustrations… as is the introduction of traffic reduction measures.

6. Few know exactly what the Council delivers… and expect more than is on offer

Residents assess the Council against services the Council doesn’t even deliver like GPs and schools… which likely feeds into perceptions of the Council.

Indeed, 46% don’t feel they know about the services on offer to them through the Council.

Details of the services we provide are published here.

Key themes

South Cambridgeshire consistently reports more positively than Fenland and Cambridge City on quality of life

Category

Most positive district/s*

Most negative district/s

Happiness and quality of life

South Cambridge

Fenland and Cambridge City

Personal health

South Cambridge

Cambridge City

Children’s health

South Cambridge and Fenland

Cambridge City and Huntingdon

Impact of cost-of-living increases

South Cambridge and Huntingdon

Fenland and Cambridge City

Concerns about homes

Huntingdon

Cambridge City

Views on local community

South Cambridge

Fenland and Cambridge City

Views on Cambridgeshire as a place to raise children

South Cambridge

Fenland

Concerns about cost-of-living, climate change, investment and jobs

Fenland (climate change)

South Cambridge (investment and jobs)

South Cambridge (climate change)

Cambridge City (investment and jobs)

Views on Cambridgeshire County Council

Cambridge City, East Cambridge and Huntingdon

Fenland

Views on environment

Cambridge City

Fenland

*While South Cambridge is more positive in categories like quality of life, it should be noted that it is  not always the most positive on services

2. Residents' levels of happiness

Happiness levels chart - 8% of residents reported low levels of happiness, 19% of residents reported medium levels of happiness and 72% of residents reported high or very high levels of happiness
Q6. Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday? Base: n=5,500

72% of residents in Cambridgeshire reported high or very high levels of happiness… averages are in line with the ONS record.

Mental health graphic - 37% report having struggled with their mental health in the last year and 29% often feel lonely
Q7. Thinking about your life specifically at the moment, to what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Base: n=5,500

But younger people and those from lower Socio-Economic Groups (SEGs) are significantly less likely to report high levels of happiness.

72% of residents in Cambridgeshire reported high or very high levels of happiness… averages are in line with the ONS record.

But younger people and those from lower Socio-Economic Groups (SEGs) are significantly less likely to report high levels of happiness.

And over a third (37%) of all residents have struggled with their mental health, and over a quarter report feeling lonely … matching national trends.

When it comes to physical health, two fifths (40%) report struggling this year… those from lower SEGs feel less healthy, and younger parents are more likely to be worried about their children's health.

Unhealthy habits including smoking and drinking are in line with the national average overall.

Young people in Cambridgeshire are more likely to be engaging with these habits than older people… which could cause pressure on future services.

3. How residents respond to concerns about climate change and increasing costs

76% or residents are concerned about climate change and 20% of residents are not
76% or residents are concerned about climate change.
Cost of living graphic - 86% of residents are concerned about the cost of living and 11% are not
86% of residents are concerned about rising costs.

86% of residents are concerned about rising costs… in line with the rest of the UK. Those from the lowest Socio-Economic Groups (SEGs) and part time workers report above average concern.

This is impacting residents’ behaviour as a result of cost-of -living… which is most prevalent amongst younger residents, renters, disabled residents and those from lower SEGs.

Over three quarters of residents are concerned about climate change.

Residents, especially those most concerned about climate change, are open to changing their behaviour to behave more sustainably…

However, cost-of-living concerns are likely to trump implementing any costly behaviour change at this time, given prevalence of the concern.

Expectations on the Council to respond are high – 77% would like to see Cambridgeshire County Council do more when it comes to climate change and 85% would like to see Cambridgeshire County Council do more to protect and enhance the natural environment.

4. How residents feel about where they live

How people feel about where they live graphic - 84% feel safe, 80% feel different people get along and 75% feel they belong.
Q5. I’d now like to think about the local community in Cambridgeshire in which you live. Think about this as the areas within a 15-minute walk of your home. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Base: n=5,500

At a high level, the majority feel positive about their local area and raising children there.

At a high level, the majority feel positive about their local area and raising children there.

84% feel safe, 80% feel different people get along and 75% feel they belong.

But some groups feel less positive about the area… Cambridge City and Fenland residents, under 34 year-olds, ethnic minorities, those from lower Socio-Economic Groups (SEGs), disabled residents and renters are more likely to disagree with positive sentiments.

When it comes to housing, over half of residents report having a problem with their main place of residence (52%), and just over a quarter struggle to heat their homes (26%).

Concerns with housing are highest for young people, ethnic minorities, those with dependents, disabled residents, private and social housing renters (more so than private renters).

5. How the Council fits into picture

How the council fits in graphic - 52% trust the County Council to make decisions about services and 44% consider that the County Council delivers value for money
Q13. I’d like you to now think about Cambridgeshire County Council’s performance. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Base: n=5,500

52% trust the County Council to make decisions about services and 44% consider that the County Council delivers value for money.

52% trust the Council to make decisions about services, whereas 44% recognise value for money. In comparison the Local Government Association (LGA) survey found that 42% recognise their local council as delivering value for money.

But the Council's reputation is less favourable amongst older residents, who are less likely to trust the Council, and don’t feel listened to.

Those using services are satisfied with them on the whole… road maintenance is a notable outlier.

Those who ‘don’t know’ about a service typically aren’t the most vulnerable… which is positive. This shows people who need the Council's services are probably aware of them.

An exception is disabled residents who score highly in ‘don’t know’ about services they may need.

Residents expect the Council to be doing more for many services and are assessing the Council against them … including those not within the Council's control like bus services and GP access.

Respondents

Breakdown by age, ethnicity, gender and location of the 5,500 residents who took part in the survey
Breakdown by age, ethnicity, gender and location of the 5,500 residents who took part in the survey

Read the Quality of life survey

Quality of Life Survey 20233.09MBpdf
Size: 3.09MBFile format: pdf

District summary report

Read our news release - 23 October 2023

We intend to run the survey again next June to August.