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Monmouth University Polling Institute

New Jersey Sees Quality of Life Rebound

Monday, February 23, 2015

Young adults and middle income earners lead the rise

West Long Branch, N.J. – In its regular tracking of residents’ satisfaction with life in New Jersey, the Monmouth University Poll finds the Garden State Quality of Life Index has bounced back from the four-year low registered last fall.  The index currently stands at +23, which up from +18 in September and more in line with readings taken a year ago.

Half of the overall index score comes from residents’ overall rating of the state as a place to live.  Currently, more than 6-in-10 New Jerseyans say the state is either an excellent (15%) or good (48%) place to call home, while 25% rate it as only fair and 11% as poor.  This 63% positive rating is a very slight uptick from the 61% positive rating recorded in September.

Local evaluations, which make up the other half of the index score, have also increased by a few points.  Specifically, positive evaluations of one’s hometown as a place to live have increased to 72% from 69% in September.  Perceptions of personal safety have also increased.  Currently, 62% of Garden State residents say they feel very safe in their own neighborhood at night, which is up from 58% who said the same in September.

Positive evaluations of local public schools stand at 61%, which is basically the same as the 60% positive rating recorded in September.  Evaluations of local environmental quality have remained steady at 72% positive.

“After taking a precipitous dip in the fall, the Garden State Quality of Life Index is back on par with where it stood for most of the past two years,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.  “The uptick is particularly noteworthy in the center of the state and the more rural counties because these regions drove the lower numbers we saw last September.”

The Garden State Quality of Life Index score increased most significantly among young adults age 18 to 34 – from +12 in September to +26 in the current poll – and among middle income residents earning between $50,000 and $100,000 – from +15 in September to +30 in the current poll.  Regionally, the index score bounced back in the two areas where it had dropped the most last fall.  The index score has increased from +12 to +24 among Route 1 Corridor residents and from +4 to +19 in the Garden Core counties.  The only region of the state that experienced a significant decrease in quality of life perceptions was the Delaware Valley, where residents registered a +11 index score, down from +18 in September and +25 in April of last year.

GARDEN STATE QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX

 

NJ TOTAL

GENDER

AGE

RACE

INCOME

Male

Female

18-34

35-54

55+

White

Black/ Hispanic

<$50K

$50-100K

>$100K

February 2015

+23

+21

+26

+26

+18

+28

+29

+10

+13

+30

+31

September 2014

+18

+19

+17

+12

+20

+20

+23

+5

+13

+15

+30

April 2014

+25

+24

+25

+31

+20

+25

+27

+16

+17

+24

+33

February 2014

+23

+28

+18

+23

+21

+26

+27

+11

+8

+23

+35

December 2013

+24

+25

+23

+24

+21

+27

+29

+10

+10

+24

+35

September 2013

+26

+26

+26

+27

+23

+30

+33

+10

+17

+25

+42

April 2013

+21

+19

+24

+19

+19

+27

+29

+3

+12

+19

+35

February 2013

+29

+28

+30

+30

+27

+31

+36

+12

+20

+30

+36

December 2012

+30

+31

+29

+30

+30

+30

+36

+14

+17

+33

+38

September 2012

+24

+28

+20

+16

+21

+32

+30

+5

+10

+23

+37

July 2012

+27

+26

+29

+21

+31

+30

+32

+16

+16

+31

+37

April 2012

+31

+33

+28

+25

+30

+37

+36

+19

+24

+28

+42

February 2012

+25

+20

+30

+25

+24

+26

+29

+13

+17

+23

+38

October 2011

+24

+24

+24

+23

+21

+29

+31

+7

+15

+25

+31

August 2011

+22

+25

+19

+27

+19

+21

+26

+9

+9

+22

+32

May 2011

+23

+24

+22

+23

+22

+23

+26

+14

+15

+22

+32

December 2010

+21

+20

+23

+23

+20

+23

+26

+13

+15

+21

+31


GARDEN STATE QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX

 

REGION

COMMUNITY TYPE

North

east

Urban Core

Route 1 Corridor

Central Hills

Northern Shore

Delaware Valley

Garden Core

Urban

Stable Town

Growing

Suburb

February 2015

+31

+13

+24

+38

+31

+11

+19

+11

+30

+27

September 2014

+23

+8

+12

+42

+27

+18

+4

+10

+22

+19

April 2014

+24

+10

+22

+43

+29

+25

+23

+4

+26

+33

February 2014

+27

+16

+20

+37

+30

+14

+16

+6

+28

+28

December 2013

+31

+15

+26

+40

+25

+14

+17

+5

+29

+30

September 2013

+27

+8

+21

+52

+33

+27

+19

+1

+34

+32

April 2013

+31

+4

+19

+38

+22

+21

+21

-3

+30

+27

February 2013

+31

+17

+35

+37

+36

+25

+23

+11

+33

+36

December 2012

+36

+18

+26

+47

+40

+21

+31

+9

+37

+37

September 2012

+29

+14

+17

+45

+33

+26

+13

-1

+27

+31

July 2012

+37

+12

+30

+37

+34

+22

+18

+8

+34

+34

April 2012

+38

+26

+27

+44

+34

+22

+28

+20

+35

+36

February 2012

+33

+17

+27

+35

+29

+19

+22

+11

+31

+29

October 2011

+31

+6

+22

+45

+35

+18

+23

-1

+31

+34

August 2011

+24

+16

+21

+38

+27

+26

+6

+4

+29

+25

May 2011

+28

+17

+16

+41

+29

+22

+20

+6

+29

+28

December 2010

+26

+15

+22

+38

+23

+14

+17

+12

+23

+27

The Garden State Quality of Life Index was created by the Monmouth University Polling Institute to serve as a resident-based indicator of the quality of life offered by the state of New Jersey.  The index is based on five separate poll questions:  overall opinion of the state as a place to live – which contributes half the index score – and ratings of one’s hometown, the performance of local schools, the quality of the local environment, and feelings of safety in one’s own neighborhood.  The index can potentially range from -100 to +100.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone with 805 New Jersey adults from January 30 to February 2, 2015.  The total sample has a margin of error of ± 3.5 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, N.J.

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

1.      Overall, how would you rate New Jersey as a place to live excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

2.      How would you rate your town or city as a place to liveexcellent, good, only fair, or poor?

[QUESTIONS 3, 4 AND 5 WERE ROTATED]

3.      How would you rate the quality of the environment in the area where you live – excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

4.      How would you rate the job your local schools are doing – excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

5.      How safe do you feel in your neighborhood at night – very safe, somewhat safe, or not at all safe?

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from January 30 to February 2, 2015 with a statewide random sample of 805 adult residents, including 605 contacted via live interview on a landline telephone and 200 via live interview on a cell phone, in English.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey questionnaire design, data weighting and analysis.  Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information.  Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample).  For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design).  Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below).  In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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