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LA County’s quality of life drops back to lowest-ever level, UCLA says

For the second time in three years, an annual survey from UCLA measuring the quality of life satisfaction in Los Angeles County has

“It feeds an overall sense that things aren’t working well,” Zev Yaroslavsky, the director of the study, said.

Since 2016, UCLA’s Lewis Center has polled LA County residents on 40 different aspects of life, including categories such as education and cost of living, from a scale of 10 to 100. The results are averaged and weighted by the importance given by the survey participants.

In this year’s survey, Yaroslavsky’s team found that the quality of life index score dropped from its midpoint of 55 to 53, meaning that a majority of respondents are unhappy living in LA County. One of the main drivers of this low score could be attributed to the cost-of-living rating dropping from 41 to 38, the lowest score ever recorded since the survey launched in 2016.

For the second time in three years, an annual survey from UCLA measuring the quality of life satisfaction in Los Angeles County has reached an all-time low.

Yaroslavksy attributed the drops to the disproportional effects of the economy and inflation on renters, who make up nearly half of the survey respondents. While 61% of homeowners are optimistic about their economic future in LA, 51% of renters said they are pessimistic with less than a quarter believing they will ever be able to buy a home.

“Housing costs have gone up,” Yaroslavsky said. “And incomes have not gone up anywhere near commensurate with what’s happened to housing.”

The survey also found that most respondents have a bleak view of the homelessness crisis. Most of the people, 60%, believe that homelessness has gotten worse since 2023 and only 20% believe it will get better. Some are also worried about becoming homeless themselves. Researchers said that households earning less than $60,000 annually, renters and African Americans reported the highest levels of anxiety about becoming unhoused.

The Hollywood sign on Mount Lee overlooking Los Angeles. CBS

“We discovered very little optimism about whether the current programs and efforts to eradicate homelessness will work,” Yaroslavsky said. “Despite the best efforts of state and local officials, the public is more negative and less hopeful about solving homelessness.”

Yaroslavsky added that the survey typically has positive results for most categories except for those associated with decisions by public officials.

“A main theme over the last nine years is that Angelenos love the neighborhoods where they live. We appreciate diversity and get along with others better than some people think. And the quality of life for most of us is pretty good,” he said. “But at some fundamental level, people think our governmental institutions are letting them down.”