Nevada County National Citizen Survey

NCS logo Opens in new windowIn the summer of 2017, Nevada County worked with National Research Center to conduct it's first National Citizen Survey. The National Citizen Survey is designed to capture a data-based picture of residents' needs and perspectives using scientific survey methods and best practices. The survey covers resident opinions on community characteristics, governance, and participation, with additional policy questions added that are specific to Nevada County.

2023 Survey

We recently completed the 2023 Community Survey. Stay tuned for results in the coming months.

2017 Results

Nevada County's National Citizen Survey received a high response rate compared to other participating communities at 32% with 545 returned responses of the 1,800 surveys distributed to Nevada County households. This high response rate gave the survey a 4% margin of error.

Key Findings

The National Citizen Survey found that safety, natural environment, and the economy are the areas that are most important to Nevada County residents compared to mobility, built environment, recreation and wellness, education and enrichment, and community engagement. 

Key Finding 1: Nevada County residents feel positively about the community and are engaged

Key Finding 2: Residents value the economy but identified some challenges

Key Finding 3: Survey respondents feel safe overall, but have concerns about wildfires and homelessness

For more information on the Key Findings for the 2017 National Citizen's Survey, view National Research Center's presentation of the findings.

Benchmark Comparisons

The National Citizen Survey provided benchmark comparisons to over 115 similar communities. Some types of government services tend to consistently receive higher ratings than others across all communities. For example, library services and public safety tend to get more positive ratings compared to code compliance or road conditions. Comparing the ratings to other similar communities through benchmark comparisons more accurately shows stand-out areas that Nevada County is excelling in or areas with room for improvement.  Of the 115 comparable communities:

  • 19 received higher ratings
  • 87 received similar ratings
  • 9 received lower ratings

Find a the list of communities included in Nevada County's benchmark comparisons and how we compared to those communities in the Technical Appendices of the report.


Selecting Recipients

To choose the 1,800 survey recipients, a systematic sampling method was applied to the list of households screened for geographic location. An individual within each household was selected using the birthday method. The birthday method selects a person within the household by asking the “person whose birthday has most recently passed” to complete the questionnaire. The underlying assumption in this method is that day of birth has no relationship to the way people respond to surveys.

Survey Administration

Selected households received three mailings, one week apart, beginning on May 19, 2017. The first mailing was a pre-notification postcard announcing the upcoming survey. The next mailing contained a letter from the District 4 Supervisor/Chair inviting the household to participate, a questionnaire and a postage-paid return envelope. The final mailing contained a reminder letter, another survey and a postage-paid return envelope. Respondents could also opt to take the survey online. Completed surveys were collected over the following seven weeks.

Data Weighting

The demographic characteristics of the survey respondents were compared to those found in the 2010 Census and American Community Survey estimates for adults in Nevada County. The primary objective of weighting survey data is to make the survey respondents reflective of the larger population of the community. The characteristics used for weighting were housing tenure (rent or own), housing unit type (attached or detached), sex and age.

Data Analysis

The survey data-set was analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).

More Information

For more information on the methodology of the Nevada County's National Citizen Survey, please view the Technical Appendices of the report.

  1. Alison Lehman Portrait

    Alison Lehman

    County Executive Officer

  2. County Executive Office

    Physical Address
    950 Maidu Avenue
    Suite 220
    Nevada City, CA 95959

    Fax 530-265-9839

    Monday - Friday
    8 a.m. - 5 p.m.