Bristol Quality of Life survey 2023

  • 1st March 2024

Bristol City Council has published the initial headline results from the Quality of Life Survey 2023.

The Quality of Life Survey is an annual questionnaire that asks residents about their experiences of living in Bristol and what matters to them. Questions ask for views on a range of topics from safety and public services to sustainability and health. This year, the council received almost 4,000 responses that included people from all wards in the city. The survey was sent to randomly selected households during the autumn and also promoted to communities who have previously not always responded.

Initial results included in the report show that satisfaction with life has generally increased from last year, with 66% of respondents saying that they were “satisfied with life”. While this is an improvement from 2022 (when 62% of residents said they were satisfied), this is still behind pre-pandemic levels by around 9% (was 75%). There are clear improvements in health and wellbeing, with 67% of people reporting that they are now doing regular exercise each week (an increase of 3%), and more households saying they “bought less food high in sugar, fat or salt in the past year” (43%), especially in the most deprived areas (53%, compared to 40% in 2022).

More people are also walking or cycling to work (35%) and satisfaction with local bus services has also improved in the last year (41%). Those who think “air quality and traffic pollution is a problem locally” fell to 67%, a 10% point improvement on pre-pandemic levels.

However, results also show that the high costs of living are continuing to have an impact on households across the city. More people are finding it hard to afford food with 19% of people in the most deprived areas experiencing “moderate or worse food insecurity” – and whilst the number of households using a foodbank in the last year has remained at 2% citywide, it has risen to 6% in the most deprived areas. The percentage of residents satisfied with the cost of their rent or mortgage (41%) is still significantly lower than levels in 2019 (59%).

Results show that there is growing anxiety around crime and safety, with significantly more people feeling that “fear of crime affects their day-to-day life” (21%), especially in the most deprived areas (44%) compared to the previous year. A new question for the 2023 survey asked residents if they have experienced sexual harassment or unwanted sexual attention. Results show that 22% of women have experienced this within the last year, and 57% of young women aged from 16 to 24.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:

“The Quality of Life Survey is an important opportunity to gather the views of residents and hear about their experience. In this year’s results, it is clear that the national cost of living crisis is still having an impact on people’s lives. People are still struggling to make ends meet or put food on the table. Here in Bristol, we continue to do all we can to support residents, including working as One City to open more than 70 warm, Welcoming Spaces this winter.

“Like many councils, Bristol faces difficult challenges that come with a continuing decline in funding for local government and high inflation. However, we have continued to secure investment ensuring that we can provide the services that will make a difference for the people of Bristol.”

You can find out more and see the full headline results on the statistics and census information page on the council website.