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Jefferson Community College Website

3rd Annual St. Lawrence County Survey Results Released

The Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College released the results of the 3rd Annual St. Lawrence County Survey of the Community on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, at a meeting held in Canton with St. Lawrence County officials.  

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 Center for Community Studies research staff, statistics students at the College completed 374 telephone interviews on both the landline and cellular phones of St. Lawrence County adult residents on the evenings of June 26-28, 2017, resulting with an approximate margin of error of ±4%.

Highlights of the 2017 St. Lawrence County survey include:

  • Positive attitudes towards K-12 education in the county reached its highest observed level in 2017 as 72% of respondents indicated it was either “Excellent or Good,” the first time this percentage has reached 70%.  Additionally, nearly 70% of respondents agree that “St. Lawrence County schools are adequately preparing our youth for the technology and economy of the future,” significantly higher than 51% in 2015.  In 2017, 18% of respondents disagreed with this statement, significantly lower than 29% in 2015 and 26% in 2016.
  • St. Lawrence County residents continue to view the overall local economy negatively. Thirty-five percent of residents view the overall local economy as “Poor” while only 21% view it as either “Excellent or Good.”  Additionally, the portion of residents who report that their personal financial situation has gotten better in the past twelve months decreased from the reported percentage in 2015 (17% compared to 25%).  The percentage of residents who indicate their personal financial situation has improved differs significantly among many different demographic groups.  Women are more likely to report an improvement than men, those in high income households more likely than low income, those with at least some college more likely than those with no college, and those in their 30’s or 40’s more likely than those at least 70 years old.
  • Attitudes toward healthcare quality are less positive in 2017 than two years prior.  “Excellent or Good” ratings of healthcare quality have decrease significantly from 58% in 2015 to 49% in 2017.  “Fair” ratings have increased by 6% and “Poor” ratings have increased by 4% in the same time period.  Twelve percent of respondents indicated the largest issue facing the nation to be healthcare, a significant increase from 4% in 2016.
  • Residents were asked to share both perceived severity and their personal impact of five potential community issues – poverty, alcohol abuse, criminal acts, heroin or other opiate abuse, and mental illness.  The percentage of residents who identified each of these five as a “major issue” in 2017 increased significantly from those observed in 2016, each of the five being observed at a value at least 10% higher than the previous year.  When asked if they had been personally impacted by the same five issues, significant increases were seen in alcohol abuse (8%), heroin or other opiate abuse (6%), and mental illness (8%).
  • In 2017, residents indicated that they are quite unsatisfied with the quality of the roadways within St. Lawrence County, a shift from 2016 when responses were slightly more positive than negative.  Thirty-eight percent of respondents indicate the roadways on which they drive to be “Poor” while only 25% identify them to be “Excellent or Good.”  The “Poor” rating is a significant increase from 28% in 2016 while the “Excellent or Good” rating represents a 6% decrease.
  • St. Lawrence County residents agree that the presence of Fort Drum in the North Country has a positive impact in the community.  Nearly 80% of residents “consider Fort Drum a vital part of the economy in the North Country by providing significant job creation.”  More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents believe that “Local community leadership should continue to be actively involved in efforts that ensure the long-term viability of Fort Drum.”  Although St. Lawrence County residents’ feelings toward Fort Drum are positive, the attitudes of Jefferson County residents are more positive overall.
  • County residents are quite satisfied with the quality of housing in St. Lawrence County (60% “Excellent or Good”) but they are less positive with the availability of housing (47% “Excellent or Good”).  The positive ratings of housing availability have decreased from a high of 54% in 2015 while the quality of housing rating increased four percent from 56% in 2016.  In 2017, thirty percent of respondents indicate they have been in the process of buying or renting a home in the past twelve months.  Approximately one in every six of those residents report having experienced housing discrimination; in 2016 this rate was one in every eight residents.

The entire report, including a summary of the results and the complete survey instrument, is available online.

For more information, please contact Joel LaLone, Research Director at the Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College, 315-786-2264.