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Garden State Quality of Life Holds Steady

Monday, March 10, 2014

In its regular tracking of residents’ satisfaction with life in New Jersey, the Monmouth University Poll finds the current Garden State Quality of Life Index stands at +23.  This latest reading is slightly lower than the +24 index score in December and +26 in September.  It is higher than the +21 dip recorded last spring, after topping out at +30 in the feel-good aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.  The current index score marks a return to New Jerseyans’ quality of life perceptions three years ago.

A major factor is residents’ overall rating of the state as a place to live.  Currently, nearly 2-in-3 say New Jersey is either an excellent (15%) or good (48%) place to call home, compared to just over 1-in-3 who rate it as only fair (26%) or poor (11%).  This 63% positive rating is down by a statistically insignificant two points from December.

Most local evaluations have held basically steady.  Specifically, 70% of New Jerseyans currently rate their town or city positively, which is identical to December.  Also, 61% of New Jerseyans give positive marks to their local schools, which is up by just a single point since December.  Opinions of local environmental quality have increased by 4 points to a 73% positive rating.

One area of the Garden State Quality of Life Index that has seen a significant increase over the past month is safety.  Two-thirds (67%) of New Jerseyans give positive ratings to neighborhood safety, which is up 7 points since December but is similar to prior polls last year.

“Our quality of life index saw a big drop in April after a period of goodwill in Sandy’s immediate aftermath.  Since then we have seen a more stable middle of the road score in New Jersey residents’ perceptions of life in the Garden State,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The underlying demographic dynamics of the Garden State Quality of Life Index score have remained stable.  Residents of the Central Hills (+37) region score the highest while urban residents (+6) score the lowest.  New Jersey adults under the age of 35 (+23) or age 55 and over (+26) tend to score slightly higher than those between the ages of 35 and 54 (+21).

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 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

Northeast

Urban Core

Route 1 Corridor

Central Hills

Northern Shore

Delaware Valley

Garden Core

Urban

Stable Town

Growing Suburb

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 latest Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by telephone with 803 New Jersey adults from February 19 to 23, 2014.  This sample has a margin of error of ±  3.5 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey.

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

ExcellentGoodOnly FairPoor(VOL)
Don’t know

(n)

February 201463%15%48%26%11%0%(803)
December 201365%20%45%26%9%0%(802)
September 201365%19%46%25%10%1%(783)
April 201361%15%46%27%11%0%(806)
February 201368%18%50%24%7%1%(803)
December 201272%20%52%21%5%1%(816)
September 201265%15%50%23%11%0%(805)
July 201269%17%52%23%8%0%(803)
April 201270%20%50%23%7%0%(804)
February 201262%15%47%26%11%1%(803)
October 201167%15%52%24%8%0%(817)
August 201157%14%43%31%11%1%(802)
May 201159%14%45%29%11%0%(807)
December 201063%17%46%26%10%1%(2864)
October 200763%17%46%25%12%1%(1001)
August 200468%22%46%21%10%1%(800)
May 200372%20%52%23%5%0%(1002)
April 200176%23%53%19%4%1%(802)
March 200076%25%51%17%6%0%(800)
May 199976%22%54%19%5%0%(800)
February 199471%18%53%22%7%0%(801)
March 199068%21%47%25%6%1%(800)
February 198878%27%51%17%4%1%(800)
February 198784%31%53%11%4%0%(800)
May 198581%29%52%14%3%1%(500)
October 198480%29%51%15%4%1%(1000)
January 198166%16%50%26%7%1%(1003)
July 198068%18%50%23%7%2%(1005)

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

TREND:

Excellent/
Good
ExcellentGoodOnly FairPoor(VOL)
Don’t know

(n)

February 201470%31%39%23%7%0%(803)
December 201370%29%41%21%8%1%(802)
September 201372%32%40%18%9%1%(783)
April 201367%29%38%25%8%0%(806)
February 201373%30%43%20%7%0%(803)
December 201274%32%42%17%9%0%(816)
September 201272%33%39%19%9%0%(805)
July 201274%32%42%18%7%1%(803)
April 201276%34%42%17%7%0%(804)
February 201274%33%41%21%5%0%(803)
October 201173%26%47%20%8%0%(817)
August 201176%28%48%18%6%0%(802)
May 201173%33%40%20%7%0%(807)
December 201073%27%46%20%8%0%(2864)
May 200374%29%45%19%7%0%(1002)
April 200173%28%45%21%6%0%(802)
May 199570%30%40%21%8%0%(802)
June 199472%31%41%19%9%0%(801)
September 198872%26%46%18%9%1%(500)
October 198471%30%41%21%7%1%(999)
June 198067%23%44%24%9%0%(1005)
May 197766%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

ExcellentGoodOnly FairPoor(VOL)
Don’t know

(n)

February 201473%29%44%21%6%0%(803)
December 201369%27%42%24%7%0%(802)
September 201375%30%45%18%7%1%(783)
April 201370%27%43%22%7%0%(806)
February 201371%26%45%24%4%2%(803)
December 201273%25%48%20%7%1%(816)
September 201272%30%42%20%7%0%(805)
July 201274%30%44%19%7%1%(803)
April 201275%30%45%18%6%1%(804)
February 201277%29%48%17%5%0%(803)
October 201172%25%47%19%9%0%(817)
August 201179%31%48%16%5%0%(802)
May 201179%33%46%15%6%0%(807)
December 201066%14%52%25%9%0%(2864)
April 200170%27%43%22%7%1%(402)
September 198853%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

ExcellentGoodOnly FairPoor(VOL)
Don’t know

(n)

February 201461%22%39%22%10%7%(803)
December 201360%20%40%23%12%5%(802)
September 201362%24%38%21%7%9%(783)
April 201359%21%38%27%9%5%(806)
February 201364%24%40%20%7%9%(803)
December 201261%21%40%23%7%9%(816)
September 201261%27%34%21%10%8%(805)
July 201261%22%39%20%11%8%(803)
April 201263%23%40%21%7%8%(804)
February 201268%26%42%16%8%8%(803)
October 201160%21%39%20%13%7%(817)
August 201163%19%44%26%6%5%(802)
May 201163%24%39%22%10%6%(807)
December 201064%24%40%23%8%5%(2864)
August 200461%24%37%17%12%9%(800)
April 200164%21%43%21%6%9%(802)
September 199962%18%44%21%9%8%(802)
September 199862%20%42%23%9%7%(804)
February 199660%20%40%20%11%9%(804)
September 199352%16%36%29%14%5%(801)
January 199253%15%38%26%15%5%(800)
October 198760%14%46%23%6%11%(500)
October 198655%15%40%26%10%9%(800)
October 198359%16%43%23%10%8%(802)
May 197852%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 201467%28%6%0%(803)
December 201360%33%7%0%(802)
September 201365%27%7%1%(783)
April 201366%28%6%0%(806)
February 201363%30%6%1%(803)
December 201264%29%6%1%(816)
September 201265%25%6%0%(805)
July 201260%32%7%1%(803)
April 201264%31%5%1%(804)
February 201262%32%5%0%(803)
October 201162%31%7%0%(817)
August 201163%31%6%0%(802)
May 201168%27%5%0%(807)
December 201059%35%6%0%(2864)
February 199342%44%13%0%(801)
October 198751%36%11%2%(499)
October 198453%36%9%2%(500)
May 198143%43%13%1%(497)

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

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from February 19 to 23, 2014 with a statewide random sample of 803 adult residents, including 603 via live interview on a landline telephone and 200 via live interview on a cell phone.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey questionnaire design, data weighting and analysis.  For results based on the total 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.  Sampling error increases as the sample size decreases, so statements based on various population subgroups, such as separate figures reported by gender or party identification, are subject to more error than are statements based on the total sample.  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% Male27% 18-34

63% White

42% Ind51% Female40% 35-54

13% Black

20% Rep 33% 55+

15% Hispanic

   

      9% Asian/Other

Region is defined by county boundaries:  Northeast (Bergen, Passaic), Urban Core (Essex, Hudson), Route 1 Corridor (Mercer, Middlesex, Union), Central Hills (Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset), Northern Shore (Monmouth, Ocean), Delaware Valley (Burlington, Camden, Gloucester), and Garden Core (Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Salem, Sussex, Warren).

It is the Monmouth University Polling Institute’s policy to conduct surveys of all adult New Jersey residents, including voters and non-voters, on issues that affect the state.  Specific voter surveys are conducted when appropriate during election cycles.

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

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs