NJ Residents Love Life Even After Sandy [AUDIO]
All year long, the Monmouth University Polling Institute regularly tracks residents' satisfaction with life in New Jersey.
Today, the 4th quarter report is released and it finds that even after super-storm Sandy, the current Garden State Quality of Life Index is at +30. This marks a reversal of the decline experienced over the last two quarters and nearly matches the prior high of +31 recorded in April of this year. The current index score is an improvement over results from both September (+24) and July (+27).
More than 7-in-10 residents say New Jersey is either an excellent (20%) or good (52%) place to call home, compared to 1-in-4 who rate it as only fair (21%) or poor (5%).
Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute says when it comes to the 'excellent' and 'good' rankings, "That's 72% overall. The last time it was at 72% was in May of 2003, more than nine years ago."
Positive ratings of one's town as a place to live stand at 74%; of the local environment stand at 73%; of neighborhood safety stand at 64%; and of local schools stand at 61%. These local ratings are no more than one or two percentage points different than the September poll results.
"The jump in positive statewide satisfaction happened not in spite of Sandy, but more likely because of the storm," says Murray. "Poll results we released earlier this month show that New Jerseyans came out of the storm with more positive views of both the state's institutions and their own neighbors. We now see this reflected in a more positive perception of the Garden State's overall quality of life."
While the Garden State Quality of Life Index score has increased for nearly almost demographic group, there are some noteworthy regional differences. The index score among residents of the Northern Shore counties of Monmouth and Ocean - the hardest hit areas of the state - now stands at +40. This marks an increase of 7 points since September. On the other hand, the Delaware Valley - Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester - which largely escaped Sandy's wrath is the only region that registered a decline in the Garden State Quality of Life Index score - from +26 in September to +21 currently.
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.