SUNY Jefferson

Center of Community Studies Releases Results of 4th Annual St. Lawrence County Survey

Published: November 27, 2018

The Center for Community Studies (CCS) at Jefferson Community College has released the results of the 4th Annual St. Lawrence County survey of the community. 

The survey is an inventory of the attitudes and opinions of a representative sample of St. Lawrence County adult residents. The primary goal of the survey is to collect data regarding quality of life issues of importance to local citizens. A similar study has been completed annually by the Center for Community Studies in Jefferson County since 2000, and in Lewis County since 2007. The sponsors of these annual surveys of the North Country communities are the Northern New York Community Foundation and the Development Authority of the North Country, who both provide financial support to assist in the funding of these projects.

Working under the supervision of the CCS research staff, statistics students at the College completed 466 telephone interviews on both landline and cellular phones of St. Lawrence County adult residents on the evenings of June 5-6, 2018, resulting with an approximate margin of error of ±4%.

Highlights of the 2018 St. Lawrence County survey include:

  • In 2018, attitudes toward the local economy are mixed. Residents are still more likely to view the availability of good jobs negatively than positively (52% “Poor” vs. 14% “Excellent or Good”) but the “Poor” rating is the lowest obtained in four years (significantly lower than the 62% recorded in 2016). Conversely, negative views of shopping opportunities have increased significantly. The 63% “Poor” rating is the highest to date and the most negatively perceived of all twenty indicators in the study. The 12% rate of “Excellent or Good” is a significant decrease from 21% in 2015. When asked to identify the largest issue facing the nation right now, 14% of St. Lawrence County residents believe it is the economy. When asked whether they or their family’s personal financial situation has gotten better, stayed the same, or gotten worse in the past 12 months, the most common response for the fourth consecutive year is “stayed the same” (60%); however, nearly 30% of respondents indicated their personal financial situation has gotten better, a significant increase from 17% in 2017, while only 11% indicated that it has gotten worse, a drop from 19% in 2015.
  • Residents were asked to share their perception of the severity of five potential community issues: poverty, alcohol abuse, heroin or other opiate abuse, prescription drug abuse and domestic violence. The percent of residents who perceive poverty (48%), alcohol abuse (46%), and heroin or other opiate abuse (65%) to be a “major” issue has declined after significant increases in 2017 from the initial measurements in 2016. Residents’ perception of prescription drug abuse was the second highest rated “major” concern among the five issues at 58%. Also of note, 18% (highest among any reported issue) of respondents identified “Drugs” when asked to identify the largest issue facing the nation, an increase from 13% in 2017 and 4% in 2016.
    • When asked to rate the county roadways, 44% of respondents indicated they believe the quality of the roads in the county to be “Poor,” a 5% increase from 2017 and a significant increase of 15% when compared to 2016. The rate of “Fair” responses has dropped to 30% (was 39% in 2016) while the “Excellent or Good” rate of 26% is five percent lower than 2016.
  • There are many more residents of St. Lawrence County who are satisfied with the quality of housing than dissatisfied (51% “Excellent or Good” and 14% “Poor”) but the percentage who rate the quality of housing as either excellent or good has dropped significantly from the 60% reported in 2017. A similar trend can be seen in their attitudes toward availability of housing. In 2018, 44% rated housing availability as “Excellent or Good,” a significant drop from 54% in 2015, while 20% rate housing availability as “Poor,” a significant increase from 10% in 2015.

The summary of findings for this study will be available on the Center for Community Studies section of the Jefferson Community College website. For a copy of the entire detailed final report for this study, and for any further information regarding this study, please contact Research Coordinator Larry Danforth, Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College, at 315-786-6553 or ldanforth@sunyjefferson.edu.

The detailed final report for this study includes a summary of the 2018 St. Lawrence County results, a copy of the complete survey instrument used this year, a trend analysis of the St. Lawrence County results from 2015-2018, a full analysis of potential relationships between key demographic characteristics of participants and their opinions and behaviors, and finally, comparisons to results of similar recent annual surveys completed by the Center in each of Jefferson and Lewis Counties.

The Development Authority of the North Country, the Northern New York Community Foundation, and Car-Freshner Corporation have partnered with Jefferson Community College in providing financial sponsorship of all three annual surveys completed by the Center for Community Studies in St. Lawrence, Jefferson, and Lewis Counties.