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It costs a lot to live in Boston — and voters aren’t happy about it

The Boston skyline.Keith Bedford/Globe Staff/File

About half of Boston voters think housing in Boston is too expensive, according to a new Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll.

The survey asked voters to rate how satisfied they were with the cost of housing on a scale of 1 to 5.

The survey found that 49.2 percent of voters rated the price of housing a 1, or “very dissatisfied.” Another 21.6 percent rated it a 2. That added up to more than 70 percent of voters being at least somewhat dissatisfied with housing costs.

At the other end of the spectrum, only 5.2 percent of voters rated the cost of housing a 5, or “very satisfied.” Another 6 percent gave it a 4.


David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said he was surprised to see the intensity of the dissatisfaction with housing costs.

“We didn’t know going into the poll where these numbers were going to fall,” he said. “That’s an overwhelming poll number.”

He said the numbers could be used by policy makers as “a tool, a compass to try to figure out how to make the quality of life better for Boston residents.”

The survey also found that 34.2 percent of people were very dissatisfied with the overall cost of living. Another 24.4 percent said they were somewhat dissatisfied.

Asked to pick the issues that mattered most to them from a list of seven, 17.4 percent selected the cost of housing as the top issue.

The citywide telephone survey of 500 registered voters, conducted June 19 through June 21 had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

It’s not the first indication of tension in the city over the cost of living in Boston.

Despite the attention lavished on the city’s high-paying jobs in technology, biotechnology, and finance, nearly half of Boston residents make less than $35,000 a year, according to a recent Boston Redevelopment Authority study.


A Boston Foundation study also recently found that more than 70 percent of millennials are dissatisfied with the local housing market, a finding that raised questions about whether people in that age group will have to leave Massachusetts to settle down.

Experts say high housing costs may also be putting a damper on the area’s population growth.