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Community Survey Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I take the survey?

The survey will appear to residents via digital ads in various online locations, such as social media platforms. Zencity uses dynamic online sampling to ensure surveys reach the full spectrum of residents for a diverse representative sample reporting the entire community. The ads will appear like this on mobile devices and can be completed on personal computers as well:

How it Works: Zencity Survey Image

In addition, residents can find and respond to the survey here.

What questions will be asked?

The survey tool will measure resident satisfaction regarding local services and quality of life in the community, while also identifying key concerns residents want the local government to address. Topics include affordable housing, health care, economy and jobs, transportation, public safety, and education.

How do you verify respondents are local residents?

Zencity uses existing digital advertising networks to target digital advertisements, localized to reach each community. Those who see the ad and choose to take the surveys voluntarily provide their ZIP code. The combination of where the ads are targeted combined with the respondent's self-reported ZIP code enables the assignment of a response to a community.

Is it anonymous?

Zencity takes protecting privacy and ensuring respondent anonymity seriously. All survey responses are completely confidential, and they do not collect any personal information that could identify a specific respondent (except, where applicable, an email address, for those that opt-in to participate in similar Zencity surveys in the future). Zencity only collects the survey question responses that are provided, along with anonymous metadata, which are used to improve the quality of the advertisements. For respondents who opt-in to future research, email addresses are not stored with survey responses, and are not linked in any way.

Further, Zencity does not share with customers individual-level responses to Zencity surveys, which can be used to identify individuals, only aggregated numbers, summaries, or disaggregated and anonymized open-ended responses. Zencity removes any information that could potentially be used to de-anonymize comments provided. Finally, all survey responses are stored in secure, encrypted databases, using industry best practices.

Zencity's policies and practices are in accordance with the leading data privacy regulations such as, where applicable, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The full privacy policy can be found at

Is the survey representative?

Zencity collects a representative sample of opinions from the population in any geographic area surveyed while minimizing potential sources of statistical bias. Zencity uses proprietary technology to track the demographic representativeness of its samples in real-time and make corresponding adjustments to ad targeting to maximize representativeness. In communities where many residents are not native English speakers, questionnaires are available in multiple languages and reach out to potential respondents in their native languages.

Zencity uses the annually-updated U.S. Census American Community Survey data to set response targets for each geographic area based on five different variables: race, age, sex, education level, and household income. Based on self-reported demographic data collected in the survey, they track the demographic representativeness of the respondents in real-time and make adjustments to obtain a closely-representative sample.

Can the public see the results?

Once the necessary sampling of responses has been received, St. Mary's County Government will share the results with the public.