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
7/1/2021 4:21:41 PM
2020 Mean responses to the Good Governance index by county. Map created by Brian Katz. These and other human wellbeing data can be further explored at the link below.
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
Respondents were asked to rate their agreement or disagreement with seven questions about governance of natural resources on a seven-point scale from ‘Strongly Disagree’ (1) to ‘Strongly Agree’ (7).

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
  • The mean response to the seven questions on Puget Sound environmental governance was 'neutral'. This was true for both the random sample and the purposive Latinx sample.
  • Respondents from Snohomish county had on average less favorable perceptions of environmental governance relative to other Puget Sound counties. 
Monitoring Program

Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab

Data Source

Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab

Vital Signs Survey Summary Report 2020

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 on their property.
  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 of Puget Sound natural resource management processes.
  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 less than 9,000. In 2020, the response rate was 25 percent for a total of 1,843 respondents. 

Also appended is a 2021 purposive sample of 180 Latinx respondents who were selected using a variety of techniques, including:

  • qualtrics panel of Latinx respondents,
  • recruitment ads placed in Spanish and English with regional Spanish radio and newspapers, and
  • social media recruitment through Puget Sound Latinx groups.

This one-time survey was conducted to approach Latinx respondents in diverse, potentially more culturally-appropriate ways, to determine if the Latinx respondents to our general public survey significantly differ from the overall Latinx population of Puget Sound (e.g., do Latinx respondents to our biennial random sample survey represent a biased group of Latinx?). To answer this question we compared the responses to the purposive sample to 1) all non-Latinx respondents in the general public survey and 2) only Latinx respondents to the general public survey.

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 Snohomish county tended to disagree more with statements on environmental governance.

Responses to each individual question were highly correlated and the distribution of responses fell along a normal curve, meaning that the way people answered any one question about governance was very similar to the way they answered other questions about governance.

A regression model that explains the demographic predictors of good governance perceptions was only able to describe one 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 and held more liberal political idealogies. These results 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.

This is the second iteration of collecting these data. We do not anticipate significant differences to appear until several years of monitoring.


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 Results
Uploaded On
File Type
Excel (XLSX)
Survey results are provided for the subjective Human Wellbeing Vital Sign indicators Data were collected via survey to the general population of the Puget Sound Region in 2018 and 2020. 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