|During the Sept. 28, 2016, Board of Directors meeting, the Board selected National Research Center, Inc., to conduct the Resident Survey, which centers on community livability and includes questions about the quality of life in the community, local policies, demographics, rating of local government services and resident use of services.
During contract negotiations, The Woodlands Township Board of Directors directed staff to incorporate a stipulation that the consultant would provide an outline of the age breakdown of the raw data before final analysis to assess the need to distribute more surveys. The purpose of the stipulation was to ensure the survey results fulfilled the Board of Director’s exact requirements that were specified in the RFP Scope of Work:
- Sample must have representation of 58 percent above the age of 44 and 42 percent below the age of 44 to represent the age demographics of The Woodlands, as well as be reflective of the published age of 39.8 years old.
NRC advised that mailed survey methodology would not yield response subtotals in the two age categories that equal the stated percentages precisely. To achieve The Woodlands Township’s desire for correct demographic representation as stated above, NRC proposed using a statistical adjustment practice known as “weighting” to make the survey sample reflective of the larger population of the community.
This is done by: 1) reviewing the sample demographics and comparing them to the population norms from The Woodlands Demographic Report and 2) comparing the responses to different questions for demographic subgroups.
Using GIS data files provided by the Township, over 5,000 randomly selected households within The Woodlands geographic boundaries were selected for participation. Each household was contacted by mail three times over the course of about three weeks. Households were provided the option to complete the questionnaire by mail or online.
As of November 30, 2016, NRC has received a total of 1,150 responses to the questionnaire, just short of the proposed target sample size of about 1,500. The 95% confidence level for the survey based on the collected data yields the target plus or minus 3% percentage points around any given percent reported for the entire survey. Attached is NRC’s preliminary demographic profile of the data collected thus far as well as the proposed data weighting scheme which has been tested by a special software program using mathematical algorithms to ensure the best fit for the data collected.
NRC has provided the Township with a cost estimate of $6,075 for the distribution of 1,500 additional surveys, likely yielding the remaining 375 returns at a response rate similar to the preliminary data. NRC advises that actions can be taken to target the younger demographic by oversampling in the Villages where younger residents are more likely to reside. Although this method would reach younger residents, there is still a chance that the response rate will still be low due to the fact that younger residents respond at lower rates compared to older residents.
Pending any actions decided upon at the December 7, 2016, meeting, NRC is expected complete final analysis and present survey findings to the Board in January or February 2017.