The majority of New Jerseyans feel their state is a great place in which to live.

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Monmouth University has released its latest "Quality of Life Index" today. It reveals that Garden State residents are actually feeling as good today as they did before Superstorm Sandy devastated this state nearly one year ago.

The Index was created by the Monmouth University Polling Institute to serve as a resident-based indicator of the quality of life offered by New Jersey. It is based on five separate poll questions: overall opinion of the state as a place to live (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.

Today, Quality of Life Index stands at +26. That's up points from April, which was a dig drop from earlier post-Superstorm Sandy readings of +29 in Feb. 2013 and +30 in Dec. 2012. Today's number is actually a bit higher than it was in Sept. 2012, the last Index before Sandy. Then is was +24.

New Jerseyans like where they've chosen to live. Almost 2-in-3 say New Jersey is either an excellent (19 percent) or good (46 percent) place to call home, compared to 1-in-3 who rate it as only fair (25 percent) or poor (10 percent). The 65 percent positive rating is up by 4 points from the April poll.

Other Indicators

Garden State residents are also feeling positive about their hometown, schools, the environment and safety in their neighborhoods. Specifically:

  • 72 percent currently rate their town or city positively, which is up 5 points since April.
  • Opinions of local environmental quality also increased by 5 points to a 75 percent positive rating.
  • 62 percent of New Jerseyans give positive marks to their local schools, up 3 points since April.
  • The rating of neighborhood safety is the only factor that remained stable, at 65 percent positive.

"Our quality of life index saw a big drop in April after a period of goodwill in Sandy's immediate aftermath," says Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. "It now looks like last spring's negativity was temporary."

The Quality of Life increases are almost across-the-board.

The overall index score climbed 14 points among Central Hills residents (+52) and 11 points among Northern Shore residents (+33). The Central Hills index score is the highest recorded in any region of the state in any Garden State Quality of Life Index poll going back to 2010. It should be noted that the Northern Shore's April score showed one of the largest regional declines compared to prior results, but it is now on par with the region's pre-Sandy readings.

The Garden State Quality of Life Index Score stayed stable or declined slightly among Route 1 Corridor residents (up 2 points to +21), Garden Core residents (down 2 points to +19) and Northeast region residents (down 4 points to +27).

Today's survey was conducted by telephone with 783 New Jersey adults from September 6 to 10, 2013. This sample has a margin of error of + 3.5 percent.