A three-year study, Soul of the Community, by the Knight Foundation that included 26 communities explored what draws people to places and keeps them there. The survey determined that there was a correlation between community attachment and economic growth. The highest rates of growth in gross domestic product (GDP) were found in areas where residents had the highest emotional connection.
The survey found that what mattered most to residents was social offerings, the region's physical beauty and openness. The beauty, including parks, trails, and Lake Superior, gave Duluth the highest aesthetic score among the nine smaller communities studied.
Other findings included:
- Residents of Duluth 65 and older are most attached to the community. Residents aged 18-24 and 35-54 have the same level of attachment.
- Residents earning less than $25,000 have the least community attachment, while those with incomes of $45,000-74,999 have the highest.
To capitalize upon the findings Duluth needs to increase it's nightlife, improve it perception of public schools, and capitalize on the areas beauty.