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New Jersey Sees Quality of Life Rebound

Monday, Feb. 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.”

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 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.

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.

DATA TABLES

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

(* Some rows may not add to 100% due to rounding.)    

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

TREND: Excellent/
Good
Excellent Good Only Fair Poor (VOL) Don’t
know
(n)
February 2015 63% 15% 48% 25% 11% 1% (805)
September  2014 61% 13% 48% 25% 13% 1% (802)
June 2014 62% 15% 47% 26% 11% 0% (800)
April 2014 64% 15% 49% 26% 10% 0% (803)
February 2014 63% 15% 48% 26% 11% 0% (803)
December 2013 65% 20% 45% 26% 9% 0% (802)
September 2013 65% 19% 46% 25% 10% 1% (783)
April 2013 61% 15% 46% 27% 11% 0% (806)
February 2013 68% 18% 50% 24% 7% 1% (803)
December 2012 72% 20% 52% 21% 5% 1% (816)
September 2012 65% 15% 50% 23% 11% 0% (805)
July 2012 69% 17% 52% 23% 8% 0% (803)
April 2012 70% 20% 50% 23% 7% 0% (804)
February 2012 62% 15% 47% 26% 11% 1% (803)
October 2011 67% 15% 52% 24% 8% 0% (817)
August 2011 57% 14% 43% 31% 11% 1% (802)
May 2011 59% 14% 45% 29% 11% 0% (807)
December 2010 63% 17% 46% 26% 10% 1% (2864)
October 2007 63% 17% 46% 25% 12% 1% (1001)
August 2004 68% 22% 46% 21% 10% 1% (800)
May 2003 72% 20% 52% 23% 5% 0% (1002)
April 2001 76% 23% 53% 19% 4% 1% (802)
March 2000 76% 25% 51% 17% 6% 0% (800)
May 1999 76% 22% 54% 19% 5% 0% (800)
February 1994 71% 18% 53% 22% 7% 0% (801)
March 1990 68% 21% 47% 25% 6% 1% (800)
February 1988 78% 27% 51% 17% 4% 1% (800)
February 1987 84% 31% 53% 11% 4% 0% (800)
May 1985 81% 29% 52% 14% 3% 1% (500)
October 1984 80% 29% 51% 15% 4% 1% (1000)
January 1981 66% 16% 50% 26% 7% 1% (1003)
July 1980 68% 18% 50% 23% 7% 2% (1005)

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

TREND: Excellent/
Good
Excellent Good Only Fair Poor (VOL) Don’t
know
(n)
February 2015 72% 29% 43% 21% 7% 0% (805)
September 2014 69% 24% 45% 22% 10% 0% (802)
April 2014 71% 27% 44% 20% 9% 0% (803)
February 2014 70% 31% 39% 23% 7% 0% (803)
December 2013 70% 29% 41% 21% 8% 1% (802)
September 2013 72% 32% 40% 18% 9% 1% (783)
April 2013 67% 29% 38% 25% 8% 0% (806)
February 2013 73% 30% 43% 20% 7% 0% (803)
December 2012 74% 32% 42% 17% 9% 0% (816)
September 2012 72% 33% 39% 19% 9% 0% (805)
July 2012 74% 32% 42% 18% 7% 1% (803)
April 2012 76% 34% 42% 17% 7% 0% (804)
February 2012 74% 33% 41% 21% 5% 0% (803)
October 2011 73% 26% 47% 20% 8% 0% (817)
August 2011 76% 28% 48% 18% 6% 0% (802)
May 2011 73% 33% 40% 20% 7% 0% (807)
December 2010 73% 27% 46% 20% 8% 0% (2864)
May 2003 74% 29% 45% 19% 7% 0% (1002)
April 2001 73% 28% 45% 21% 6% 0% (802)
May 1995 70% 30% 40% 21% 8% 0% (802)
June 1994 72% 31% 41% 19% 9% 0% (801)
September 1988 72% 26% 46% 18% 9% 1% (500)
October 1984 71% 30% 41% 21% 7% 1% (999)
June 1980 67% 23% 44% 24% 9% 0% (1005)
May 1977 66% 25% 41% 24% 10% 0% (1005)

[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?

TREND: Excellent/
Good
Excellent Good Only Fair Poor (VOL) Don’t
know
(n)
February 2015 72% 27% 45% 23% 4% 0% (805)
September 2014 72% 24% 48% 21% 5% 1% (802)
April 2014 76% 27% 49% 18% 6% 0% (803)
February 2014 73% 29% 44% 21% 6% 0% (803)
December 2013 69% 27% 42% 24% 7% 0% (802)
September 2013 75% 30% 45% 18% 7% 1% (783)
April 2013 70% 27% 43% 22% 7% 0% (806)
February 2013 71% 26% 45% 24% 4% 2% (803)
December 2012 73% 25% 48% 20% 7% 1% (816)
September 2012 72% 30% 42% 20% 7% 0% (805)
July 2012 74% 30% 44% 19% 7% 1% (803)
April 2012 75% 30% 45% 18% 6% 1% (804)
February 2012 77% 29% 48% 17% 5% 0% (803)
October 2011 72% 25% 47% 19% 9% 0% (817)
August 2011 79% 31% 48% 16% 5% 0% (802)
May 2011 79% 33% 46% 15% 6% 0% (807)
December 2010 66% 14% 52% 25% 9% 0% (2864)
April 2001 70% 27% 43% 22% 7% 1% (402)
September 1988 53% 10% 43% 31% 15% 1% (500)

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

TREND: Excellent/
Good
Excellent Good Only Fair Poor (VOL) Don’t
know
(n)
February 2015 61% 21% 40% 24% 8% 7% (805)
September 2014 60% 21% 39% 24% 9% 7% (802)
April 2014 63% 24% 39% 22% 9% 6% (803)
February 2014 61% 22% 39% 22% 10% 7% (803)
December 2013 60% 20% 40% 23% 12% 5% (802)
September 2013 62% 24% 38% 21% 7% 9% (783)
April 2013 59% 21% 38% 27% 9% 5% (806)
February 2013 64% 24% 40% 20% 7% 9% (803)
December 2012 61% 21% 40% 23% 7% 9% (816)
September 2012 61% 27% 34% 21% 10% 8% (805)
July 2012 61% 22% 39% 20% 11% 8% (803)
April 2012 63% 23% 40% 21% 7% 8% (804)
February 2012 68% 26% 42% 16% 8% 8% (803)
October 2011 60% 21% 39% 20% 13% 7% (817)
August 2011 63% 19% 44% 26% 6% 5% (802)
May 2011 63% 24% 39% 22% 10% 6% (807)
December 2010 64% 24% 40% 23% 8% 5% (2864)
August 2004 61% 24% 37% 17% 12% 9% (800)
April 2001 64% 21% 43% 21% 6% 9% (802)
September 1999 62% 18% 44% 21% 9% 8% (802)
September 1998 62% 20% 42% 23% 9% 7% (804)
February 1996 60% 20% 40% 20% 11% 9% (804)
September 1993 52% 16% 36% 29% 14% 5% (801)
January 1992 53% 15% 38% 26% 15% 5% (800)
October 1987 60% 14% 46% 23% 6% 11% (500)
October 1986 55% 15% 40% 26% 10% 9% (800)
October 1983 59% 16% 43% 23% 10% 8% (802)
May 1978 52% 12% 40% 25% 12% 11% (1003)

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

TREND: Very
safe
Somewhat
safe
Not at
all safe
(VOL) Don’t
know
(n)
February 2015 62% 33% 4% 0% (805)
September 2014 58% 36% 6% 0% (802)
April 2014 66% 30% 4% 1% (803)
February 2014 67% 28% 6% 0% (803)
December 2013 60% 33% 7% 0% (802)
September 2013 65% 27% 7% 1% (783)
April 2013 66% 28% 6% 0% (806)
February 2013 63% 30% 6% 1% (803)
December 2012 64% 29% 6% 1% (816)
September 2012 65% 25% 6% 0% (805)
July 2012 60% 32% 7% 1% (803)
April 2012 64% 31% 5% 1% (804)
February 2012 62% 32% 5% 0% (803)
October 2011 62% 31% 7% 0% (817)
August 2011 63% 31% 6% 0% (802)
May 2011 68% 27% 5% 0% (807)
December 2010 59% 35% 6% 0% (2864)
February 1993 42% 44% 13% 0% (801)
October 1987 51% 36% 11% 2% (499)
October 1984 53% 36% 9% 2% (500)
May 1981 43% 43% 13% 1% (497)

            [Note:  All trend results prior to 2005 come from Rutgers University’s Eagleton Poll.]

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.

POLL DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)

38% Dem49% Male28% 18-34

64% White

43% Ind51% Female39% 35-54

12% Black

19% Rep 33% 55+

15% Hispanic

   

      9% Asian/Other

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

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs