Monmouth University

New Jersey Quality of Life Sees Spring Uptick

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 +25.  This latest reading is slightly higher than the +23 index score in February.

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 (49%) place to call home, compared to just over 1-in-3 who rate it as only fair (26%) or poor (10%).  This 64% positive rating is up by a statistically insignificant single point since February.

A bigger impact on the overall Garden State Quality of Life index score comes from residents’ views of the environment.  With the arrival of spring, 76% give the quality of their local environment a positive rating, which is up from 73% in February and 69% in December.

“We generally don’t see such seasonal shifts in how New Jerseyans rate their environment, but this was a fairly harsh winter and that could have an impact on overall sense of well-being,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Other ratings in the report include:  71% of New Jerseyans currently rate their town or city positively, which is up just one point from February.  Also, 63% of New Jerseyans give a positive rating to their local schools, which is up by two points since February.  Two-thirds (66%) of New Jerseyans give positive ratings to neighborhood safety, which is down one point since February.

Since February, the overall Garden State Quality of Life Index score has increased among women (+25 from +18) and decreased among men (+24 from +28).  It has also increased among younger adults age 18 to 34 (+31 from +23) but held steady among those age 35 to 54 (+20) and age 55 and older (+25).  Lower income residents, those earning under $50,000 a year, also showed an increase in the index score since February – to +17 from +8.  The score held steady, though, among those earning $50,000 to $99,000 (+24) and $100,000 or more (+33).

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.

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