Vibrant Human Quality of Life
Good Governance
Good Governance Index
Vital Sign Indicator
Percent (%)

No targets are currently set for this indicator.

Kelly Biedenweg
Contributing Partners
Last Updated
4/17/2020 4:36:25 PM
The average perceptions of natural resource governance (G_avg) by county. Points represent locations where responses are higher (red) and lower (blue) than those around them based on the ArcGIS Getis-Ord Gi Hot Spot Analysis tool.
The Good Governance Index tells us how Puget Sound residents perceive the way decisions are made regarding management of the natural environment. The index is made up of 5 different indicators. The indicators offer insights for improving our overall decision-making processes, strengthening communication strategies, and strengthening the engagement of our partners and citizenry.
Vital Sign Indicator Chart
Good Governance Index
By: Response
Percentages of respondents who answered in each category, from 'Strongly Agree' to 'Strongly Disagree', by question.

Good governance measures the various dimensions by which the general public is satisfied with the process of managing Puget Sound environments.  It is an indicator of wellbeing as it contributes to people's sense of satisfaction and control over the fate of their resources. It is also fundamental in contributing to people's support for current and future restoration actions.

Key Vital Sign Indicator Results
  • Mean responses equate to a little more than "neutral" on public agreement perceptions of Puget Sound environmental governance.
  • Respondents from Pierce and Kitsap counties tended to have a more favorable perception of environmental governance relative to those around them. Respondents from Mason, Snohomish, and Clallam counties tended to have a less favorable perception of environmental governance than those around them.
  • Responses to each individual indicator were highly correlated and the distribution of responses fell along a normal curve, meaning that the way people answer any one question about governance is very similar to the way they answer other questions about governance.
Monitoring Program

Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab

Data Source

Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab

The Good Governance index is an average of general Puget Sound public responses to 7 different questions:

  1. Opportunity to influence decisions. Percent of residents who feel they have the opportunity to influence environmental decisions if desired.
  2. Freedom to make decisions. Percent of residents who feel they have the rights and freedoms to make decisions about how the natural environment is managed.
  3. Trust in local and regional government.Percent of residents who trust local and regional government to make the right decisions for protecting and recovering Puget Sound.
  4. Representation in community and government leaders. Percent of residents who feel represented by community and government leaders.
  5. (5-7) Access to information: Percent of residents who obtain information about social and economic consequences of natural resource management, environmental consequences of natural resource management, regulatory aspects of natural resource management in the Puget Sound.

Data are collected every 2 years via paper survey to a random sample of Puget Sound households. The population chosen for this survey was a clustered random sample of Puget Sound residents, with an initial sample of 9,000. Due to undeliverable addresses, the total sample reached was 8,261 individuals. The response rate was 28 percent for a total of 2,323 individual responses. Results are reported as the frequency that Puget Sound residents engaged in cultural traditions or activities over the past year.

About 75 percent of survey participants gave their cross-streets, which allowed mapping of human wellbeing metrics at a fine scale. The map above shows the location of each individual respondent. Hot Spot Analysis (Getis-Ord Gi* statistic) was used to visualize clusters of responses that were significantly higher (red, hot spots) and lower (blue, cold spots) relative to those around them.

Critical Definitions

Governance refers to the way in which decions are made - the decision making process. This indicator is specificaly individual perceptions of the decision making process for Puget Sound environmental issues.  As such, it is a subjective measure.

Interpretation of Results

While on average, all counties reported a "neutral" or "somewhat agree" perception of Puget Sound natural resource governance, respondents from Pierce and Kitsap counties tended to agree more with statements on environmental governance relative to those around them (red, hot spots in map above). Respondents from Mason, Snohomish, and Clallam counties tended to agree less with statements on environmental governance (blue, cold spots) than those around them.

A regression model that explains the demographic predictors of good governance perceptions was only able to describe 4 percent of the variation in responses. As such, it is likely that response variance is due more to individual experiences, personality traits, values and attitudes. That said, according to the model, those who were more likely (even if slightly) to perceive good governance were newer to the region, female, urban, and had higher incomes.  These results match some of the evidence that rural and poorer populations feel more marginalized by policy decisions made in urban centers. These results also likely reflect the current trend of identity politics. We must be careful to not read too much into these predictor variables as, again, they only describe a small portion of the variance in responses.


The Puget Sound Partnership believes in the transparency and accessibility of the data used to address progress measures. These data are provided by contributing partners to the Partnership and are made publicly available through the Puget Sound Info site. These data are available on an "as is" basis and the Partnership is not responsible for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies. Please acknowledge the monitoring program and data source when using these data and obtain permission from the Vital Sign Indicator Reporter to use these data in a publication.

Human Wellbeing Survey 2018 Categorical Data
Uploaded On
File Type
Excel (XLSX)
Results are presented for the subjective Human Wellbeing Vital Sign indicators. Data were collected via a survey to the general population of the Puget Sound Region in 2018. Please acknowledge the Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab and Puget Sound Partnership when using these data.
Reporting Guidance
Reporting Instructions
Did not answer, Don't know, Strongly disagree, Disagree, Somewhat disagree
[4 More Options]
Neutral, Somewhat agree, Agree, Strongly agree