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Garden State Quality of Life Index Up

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011

Now stands at +24; growing urban-suburban divide


In its quarterly tracking of New Jerseyans’ satisfaction with life in their state, the Monmouth University Poll found that the current Garden State Quality of Life Index has ticked up to +24.  The initial reading taken in December 2010 was +21, rising to +23 in May 2011 and dropping slightly to +22 in August.

“We have seen some upward movement in the Garden State Quality of Life Index over the past few months, led by increasingly positive views of the state as a whole,” said Patrick Murray director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Currently, 2-in-3 residents rate New Jersey as either an excellent (15%) or good (52%) place to live.  This 67% positive rating is up from 57% in August and 63% nearly a year ago.  It marks the highest positive reading on this question since 68% of New Jerseyans said the same in a 2004 poll.

Positive views of residents’ local areas stayed stable, including ratings of one’s hometown (73%), environment (72%), crime (62%), and schools (60%).

The Garden State Quality of Life Index score did experience a significant uptick among older residents.  It now stands at +29 among state residents age 55 and older, compared to +21 for those 35 to 54 and +23 for those 18 to 34.

There is also a growing disparity between New Jersey’s urban and suburban communities.  Last year, the Garden State Quality of Life Index score from residents of urban areas stood at +12 compared to +23 in stable towns and +27 in growing suburbs.  The urban score is now -1 compared to +31 in stable towns and +34 in growing suburbs.

The index score among black and Hispanic residents (+7) is now half of where it stood last year (+13).  It has increased slightly among white residents (+31 up from +26).

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 817 New Jersey adults from October 5 to 9, 2011.  This sample has a margin of error of ±  3.4 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 Only
Fair
Poor (VOL)
Don’t know

(n)

October 2011 15% 52% 24% 8% 0% (817)
August 2011 14% 43% 31% 11% 1% (802)
May 2011 14% 45% 29% 11% 0% (807)
December 2010 17% 46% 26% 10% 1% (2864)
October 2007 17% 46% 25% 12% 1% (1001)
August 2004 22% 46% 21% 10% 1% (800)
May 2003 20% 52% 23% 5% 0% (1002)
April 2001 23% 53% 19% 4% 1% (802)
March 2000 25% 51% 17% 6% 0% (800)
May 1999 22% 54% 19% 5% 0% (800)
February 1994 18% 53% 22% 7% 0% (801)
March 1990 21% 47% 25% 6% 1% (800)
February 1988 27% 51% 17% 4% 1% (800)
February 1987 31% 53% 11% 4% 0% (800)
May 1985 29% 52% 14% 3% 1% (500)
October 1984 29% 51% 15% 4% 1% (1000)
January 1981 16% 50% 26% 7% 1% (1003)
July 1980 18% 50% 23% 7% 2% (1005)
  1. How would you rate your town or city as a place to live – excellent, good, only fair, or poor?
TREND:

Excellent

Good Only
Fair
Poor (VOL)
Don’t know

(n)

October 2011 26% 47% 20% 8% 0% (817)
August 2011 28% 48% 18% 6% 0% (802)
May 2011 33% 40% 20% 7% 0% (807)
December 2010 27% 46% 20% 8% 0% (2864)
May 2003 29% 45% 19% 7% 0% (1002)
April 2001 28% 45% 21% 6% 0% (802)
May 1995 30% 40% 21% 8% 0% (802)
June 1994 31% 41% 19% 9% 0% (801)
September 1988 26% 46% 18% 9% 1% (500)
October 1984 30% 41% 21% 7% 1% (999)
June 1980 23% 44% 24% 9% 0% (1005)
May 1977 25% 41% 24% 10% 0% (1005)

[QUESTIONS 3, 4 AND 5 WERE ROTATED]

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

Excellent

Good Only
Fair
Poor (VOL)
Don’t know

(n)

October 2011 25% 47% 19% 9% 0% (817)
August 2011 31% 48% 16% 5% 0% (802)
May 2011 33% 46% 15% 6% 0% (807)
December 2010 14% 52% 25% 9% 0% (2864)
April 2001 27% 43% 22% 7% 1% (402)
September 1988 10% 43% 31% 15% 1% (500)
  1. How would you rate the job your local schools are doing – excellent, good, only fair, or poor?
TREND:

Excellent

Good Only
Fair
Poor (VOL)
Don’t know

(n)

October 2011 21% 39% 20% 13% 7% (817)
August 2011 19% 44% 26% 6% 5% (802)
May 2011 24% 39% 22% 10% 6% (807)
December 2010 24% 40% 23% 8% 5% (2864)
August 2004 24% 37% 17% 12% 9% (800)
April 2001 21% 43% 21% 6% 9% (802)
September 1999 18% 44% 21% 9% 8% (802)
September 1998 20% 42% 23% 9% 7% (804)
February 1996 20% 40% 20% 11% 9% (804)
September 1993 16% 36% 29% 14% 5% (801)
January 1992 15% 38% 26% 15% 5% (800)
October 1987 14% 46% 23% 6% 11% (500)
October 1986 15% 40% 26% 10% 9% (800)
October 1983 16% 43% 23% 10% 8% (802)
May 1978 12% 40% 25% 12% 11% (1003)
  1. 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)

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 conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute on October 5 to 9, 2011 with a statewide random sample of 817 adult residents, including 714 contacted on a landline telephone and 103 on a cell phone.  Sampling and interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, Inc.  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 3.4 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)

34% Dem 49% Male 28% 18-34

64% White

20% Rep 51% Female 39% 35-54

12% Black

46% Ind   32% 55+

16% 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 all tables