CCS Releases Results of 15th Annual Jefferson County Survey

Published June 11, 2014:  The Center for Community Studies (CCS) at Jefferson Community College released its findings of the 15th Annual Jefferson County Survey of the Community at the Planning & Development Committee Meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators on Tuesday, June 10. 

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 422 telephone interviews on the evenings of April 7-9, 2014.

Highlights of the 2014 survey include:

  • Jefferson County resident’s satisfaction with “the overall quality of life in the area” is still high but declined somewhat, with 75% of respondents rating it as either "getting better" or "staying the same", down from the 86% reported in 2013.
  • Residents reported most frequently that the following aspects of our community are "getting better": shopping opportunities, access to higher education (at the highest rate recorded since the first year of the survey), and availability of housing.
  • Residents indicated most frequently that the following aspects of our community were "getting worse": the cost of energy, real estate taxes, the availability of good jobs, and the overall state of the local economy.
  • Nearly three quarters of residents (73%) are not confident that there will be sufficient funding provided to K-12 schools to effectively implement the Common Core standards.
  • The percentage of Jefferson County residents perceiving the quality of K-12 education as "getting worse" was at the highest rate ever measured (24%), while at the same time the rate of those indicating that it was “getting better” (31%) went up to its highest level since before the 2008 recession.
  • Nearly four of every five residents (79%) agree or strongly agree that “the presence of Fort Drum in the local area improves the quality of life for local residents.”
  • Half of all residents (51%) indicated that “the presence of Fort Drum in the area has a positive effect upon you or your family’s employment or financial situation.”
  • Those rating Andrew Cuomo’s job performance as governor as “good” or “excellent” declined from 41% in 2013 to 28% in 2014.
  • Over three fourths of residents (76%) support the increase of the minimum wage to $9 an hour in January 2016, while only 64% of those with household incomes less than $25,000 per year support the increase.
  • Over half of survey respondents (53%) reported that availability of housing in the county was "getting better", a significant increase from the 41% rating in 2013 and the highest ever found.
  • Over one third of respondents (35%) 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.
  • Over one out of every 4 residents (27%) indicated that their families had been negatively affected by federal sequestration cuts.
  • Over three of every five residents (62%) oppose Governor Cuomo’s plan to provide free college education to inmates (29% support it as long as it is repaid and 7% support it completely).
  • Two thirds of residents believe that marijuana should be legalized at least for medicinal purposes (30% said legalize for medicinal purposes and 37% said legalize completely).
  • Nine out of every ten residents indicated that The New York State Zoo at Thompson Park is important to the quality of life in the county.
  • Satisfaction with local government increased. Residents in 2013 gave local government the highest ever rate of “getting worse” at 43%. In 2014, “getting worse” declined to 34%, while “getting better” went up to 16% from a low of 6% last year.
  • Participants responded by an 8 to 1 margin (57% to 7%) that access to higher education in the county was “getting better” instead of “getting worse”.

The entire survey, including a summary of the results and the complete survey instrument, is available on the Jefferson Community College website by selecting Center for Community Studies under 'Community & Business'. 

For more information, please contact Dr. Raymond Petersen, Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College, 315-786-2223/2488.