STATE – Age affects how New Jersey residents evaluate the state’s quality of life. But it’s not a straightforward relationship. Young adults join senior citizens in giving generally higher ratings to their home state when compared to the views of middle-aged residents in a new Monmouth University Poll.
The poll found few differences in how men and women view New Jersey’s quality of life. Status as a parent had even less of an effect.
“It’s interesting that having a child at home does not significantly impact how residents view their state. The stresses of raising a child in a high-cost state like New Jersey may be offset by the many advantages their home state offers,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “Perhaps even more interesting is the role that age plays in assessing New Jersey’s quality of life. Younger adults start off with a relatively more positive view, which dips through their middle-age years, only to rebound considerably as they enter retirement.”
When it comes to a desire to stay in New Jersey for the rest of their lives or hope to eventually leave the state, the survey finds significant differences among the age groups. More than half of those under 70 are hoping to leave New Jersey eventually, while only 20 percent of those over the age of 70 say the same. Having children under the age of 18 also increases the likelihood that a person would like to leave New Jersey eventually. Among New Jerseyans with children under the age of 18, 59 percent would like to leave the state eventually, while only 46 percent of those without children say the same.
The survey also asked residents to rate their local area as a place to raise a family. Overall, 26 percent of New Jerseyans rate their area as excellent, 48 percent as good, 16 percent as only fair, and 9 percent as poor.
A majority of parents and non-parents alike give the state’s schools a positive rating, but parents of children under the age of 18 (69 percent) are slightly more likely than non-parents (61 percent) to say that their local schools are doing an excellent or good job.
When New Jerseyans are asked how satisfied they are with their standard of living, again age makes a difference. Among those 70 or older, 41 percent are very satisfied, but among those 50 to 69 only 25 percent say the same, and the number drops further to 19 percent for 30 to 49 year olds. The number goes back up to 29 percent for New Jersey’s youngest adults between 18 and 29 years old.
The Garden State Quality of Life survey was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from December 1 to 15, 2010 with a statewide random sample of 2,864 adult residents. Sampling and live telephone interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, Inc.
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