Center for Community Studies Releases Findings of the Jefferson County Survey of the Community

The Center for Community Studies (CCS) at Jefferson Community College released the findings of the 14th Annual Jefferson County Survey of the Community at the Planning & Development Committee Meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators on Tuesday, June 11, 2013.The survey is an inventory of the attitudes and opinions of a representative sample of Jefferson County residents. The primary goal of the survey is to collect data regarding quality of life issues of importance to local citizens.Working under the supervision of the Center for Community Studies research staff, statistics students at the College completed 400 telephone interviews on the evenings of April 1-2, 2013.Highlights of this year’s survey include:

  • Jefferson County residents continue to be very satisfied with the overall quality of life in the area, with 86% of respondents rating it as either "getting better" or "staying the same".
  • Residents reported most frequently that the following aspects of our community are "getting better": shopping opportunities, access to higher education, and availability of housing.
  • Residents indicated most frequently that the following aspects of our community were "getting worse": the cost of energy, the availability of good jobs, the overall state of the local economy, and real estate taxes.
  • The results on the economy and jobs are very similar to those from the 2012 survey, when there was a significant decrease in respondents rating “Overall State of the Local Economy” as "getting worse", down from 56% in 2011 to 42% in 2012 (now 46%), and still well below the peak year for this rating in 2009 (72%). Those responding “getting better” increased from 15% in 2012 to 20% in 2013.
  • While over half of respondents in 2013 (53%) indicated that the "Availability of Good Jobs" was "getting worse", this was down from 65% in 2011.
  • The percentage of Jefferson County residents perceiving the quality of K-12 education as "getting worse" was at the highest rate ever measured (21%), making this the second time in three years that the dissatisfaction level has been this high (20% in 2011).
  • The Survey also demonstrated solid support for school district sharing of services (89%), and for school districts to consider consolidation (63%).
  • Two out of every five residents (41%) reported that availability of housing in the county was "getting better", a significant increase from the 29% rating in 2012.
  • Nearly one third of respondents (32%) report that the availability of care for the elderly was “getting better”, the highest rating for this indicator since it began being measured in 2004.
  • One out of every 3 residents indicated that their families had been negatively affected by federal sequestration cuts. (34%)
  • In 2013, for the first time ever, respondents more frequently perceived policing and crime control to be “getting worse” ratherthan to be “getting better”, by 25% to 22%, respectively.
  • Government at all levels received lower levels of satisfaction. Local government received the most negative sentiment since the survey was begun in 2000, with residents giving local government the highest ever rate of “getting worse”in 2013, at 43%. Residents made Government/Leadership the second largest issue facing the nation right now (12% in 2013, compared to 4% in 2012) after jobs and the economy, and those who rated Governor Cuomo’s job performance as “Poor” increased from 10% in 2012 to 25% this year. 
  • Thebusiness sector that wasrated "very important" to the Jefferson County economy by the most respondents was maintaining farms and agriculture (82%), while having wind farms in the region was rated "very important" by 37%.
  • Nearly two out of three participants (63%) responded that their opinion or view of Jefferson Community College is very positive.

The entire survey, including a summary of the results and the complete survey instrument, is available on the Jefferson Community College website, www.sunyjefferson.edu, and clicking on ‘Center for Community Studies’ under Community/Business.For more information, please contact Dr. Raymond Petersen, Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College, 315-786-2488.