116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION - Forty percent of the Marion residents completing a community survey last fall think the community does an 'excellent” job in making residents feel welcome.
Thirty-five percent thought Marion does a 'good” job, 15 percent said 'fair,” and 6 percent said 'bad.” Three percent responded with 'I don't know.”
The city undertook the community equity and inclusion online survey in August and September to find how welcome people of various backgrounds feel in Marion. The results were presented at the city council's work session this week.
Of Marion's estimated 40,359 residents, 316 completed the survey.
City Manager Lon Pluckhahn said the timing of the survey was not ideal, given the Aug. 10 derecho and that the survey was extended an extra month to give people a chance to participate.
'We hope to follow with more targeted surveys,” Pluckhahn said. 'We will be working on what our community outreach plan looks like.”
Of the survey's respondents, 86 percent were white. Marion's population is almost 94 percent white, according to U.S. census.
The other respondents were 7 percent Black, while Marion's population is around 2 percent Black; 4 percent were Spanish, Hispanic of Latino, who make up 2.5 percent of the city's population; 3 percent were Native American, with 0.1 percent of the population; and 2 percent were Asian, Asian Indian or Pacific Islander, with 1.3 percent of the population.
The survey asked respondents how welcoming the community is for different groups, including people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community and various ethnic groups.
The highest percentage for groups finding the community unwelcoming were Blacks and people who identify as transgender, both at 16 percent, followed by lower-income residents and people who are not U.S. citizens, at 15 percent.
'If you look across the board on how welcoming respondents rated the community for any person of color, those numbers were definitely skewed, as well with transgender individuals,” Pluckhahn said. 'Among those populations, there's definitely work to do.”
Pluckhahn said the next step is for the city's Community Equity Task Force's community and outreach subcommittee to figure out what targeted surveys should look like.
'Statistics tell you one thing, but what brings life to this is telling stories,” he said. 'Hearing anecdotal evidence is going to be a big piece of telling what really happens. We want to know specifics. Were you treated poorly by a city employee? Was it an issue within the schools? These are the things we want to know.”
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