Business executives who live in the Washington area are commonly moderately satisfied with their life styles compared with their relatively ecstatic counterparts in Salt Lake City, Dallas. Fort Worth and Minneapolis-St. Paul, according to a nationwide survey.

What executives like most about the nation's capital are its cultural opportunities and intellectual climate, the survey indicated. And of course, for those who have an interect in government-related work or political contacts, they noted, this is the place.

Their most frequent complaints are about "a lack of private sector opportunity, high housing costs and an inefficient local government," according to the report by the Association of Master of Business Administration Executives (AMBA), a New York based organization with almost 18,000 members nationwide.

The survey report was based on responses from 3,519 professional managers in the fields of finance, general management, marketing and accounting, AMBA said. There were 154 responses from the Washington area.

The survey shows the executives to be a highly mobile group whose moves are usually job-related, who don't expect to stay in one place for very long and who prefer suburban to city living.

Out of 50 cities and suburbs included in the survey. Washington ranked about in the middle "overall, as a place to live," ahead of New York City and about even with Baltimore and St. Louis.

Salt Lake City scored highest overall, with 94 per cent of the executives there rating it very good or excellent, primarily because of its natural beauty, cleanliness and safety. Runner-up Dallas-Ft. Worth got its highest marks for its stable economy an [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] low living costs. Minneapolis-St. Paul residents were enthusiastic about almost everything there except the area is long cold winters" but said that even that drawback was a blessing if it would discourage others from moving there.

In the Washington area, 59 per cent of the executives who live in the District, and 65 per cent of those living in its suburbs, gave an overall rating of very good to excellent.

A typical comment from that group, as quoted in the report said, "There is an enormous number of well-educated upper-middle-class people here ages 25 to 40, which is a big advantage . . . If you're interested in government. Washington is the city for you. If not, you'll be bored." [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] ton's size which "allows suburban living within city limits," as one put it. "It has the advantages of a big city without many of the big city hassles," said another.

On the other hand, grumped one, "There is an overabundance of federal employees who seem to fall into a mediocre life style intellectually."

Crime, poor commuting conditions and deteriorating air quality were among other complaints about the area.

While the Washington executives complained about "the lack of private corporations and commercial areas" generally, there seemed to be an abundance of opportunity in one private category - that of management consulting, Licker said.

Experts in that field noted that management consulting is a catch-all title used by people with a variety of skills they want to market to government national organizations and lobbyists here.

The survey was designed to help AMBA answer the questions of executives who find themselves considering a move. Licker said, "The things that matter are often things you can tell only by living in a city."

Other highly rated cities included Seattle, San Diego, Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis and San Francisco.