The Costs and Benefits of "Big City" Life in Seattle


A new "state of Seattle" survey by public relations firm Weber Shandwick suggests that while more Seattleites feel secure in their jobs than in the rest of the country, more residents here are concerned about the lack of civility in the city, particularly on the roads. Here are the results of the survey:



  • Among those employed, job security is high with 91 percent feeling at least somewhat secure about their current job situation. This is an 8 percent jump from a year ago when 83 percent felt the same way.
  • More than half (52 percent) of Seattle residents believe the state of the U.S. economy is weak, while 53 percent feel the economy will be stronger a year from now.


  • Many Seattle residents (71 percent) believe that the general tone and level of civility is a problem where they live, with 21 percent saying it is a major problem. By comparison, 63 percent of Americans say incivility is a major problem for the country today. Almost a third of residents feel the general tone and level of civility where they live will get worse during the next few years. Nationally, 55 percent think the general tone and level of civility in the country will get worse.
  • Two-thirds of Seattleites report having experienced incivility on the road, which is higher than the national average (Seattle: 68 percent vs. National: 60 percent).
  • Seven in 10 residents say men are more uncivil than women.


  • Forget what the rest of the country thinks— 72 percent of Seattleites are satisfied with the weather while 47 percent say transportation/traffic issues are the number one thing they would like to change about the city. Only 11 percent said they’d change the weather.
  • As in previous years, Seattle residents continue to describe Seattle as environmentally conscious (2012: 77 percent, 2011: 74 percent, 2010: 77 percent). However, 64 percent of those who are working or in school say they drive solo when commuting daily to work or school.
  • Seattle nice? Fewer residents describe Seattle as a ‘friendly’ city this year compared to last year (2012: 36 percent vs. 2011: 48 percent).
  • What’s more important access to the arts or professional sports? 59 percent pick the arts.


  • How do Seattle residents view the national media coverage of the presidential election? 46 percent say the general tone and level of civility is worse than prior elections, while 50 percent say it is about the same.
  • How has the local media covered Washington’s race for governor? 79 percent say the tone and level of civility toward the candidates has been about the same as past election coverage.
  • Where do Seattleites get their news? 38 percent go online to newspapers, social media, blogs and magazine sites, 35 percent turn to television and 13 percent get their news from radio. Desktops and laptops are used most often (78 percent) for getting online news.