Regional life-quality survey finds economic, financial concerns

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Regional life-quality survey finds economic, financial concerns

A new quality of life survey finds San Joaquin Valley residents more dissatisfied with their personal financial situation and with state and federal governments, while pinpointing the economy as the most pressing problem facing their communities.

The Social Research Laboratory at California State University, Fresno’s College of Social Sciences conducted the telephone survey of 511 adults using random-digit dialing. Laboratory director Dr. Edward Nelson, a professor emeritus of sociology at Fresno State, has been spearheading quality of life surveys for more than two decades.

Comparing responses in 2010 to previous surveys, Nelson found:

  • While crime topped concerns facing communities previously, today’s respondents say the economy – particularly the lack of available jobs – has risen to the top of the list.
  • In 2006, 15.2 percent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with their personal financial condition, but it was nearly double that – 28.4 percent – in 2010.
  • The percentage of people who feel their financial situation was getting worse nearly tripled – 14.1 percent in 2006 to 41.9 percent in 2010.
  • There was a sharp drop in satisfaction with how state and federal governments are performing, with positive ratings for the federal government down from 39.7 percent in 2002 to 11.9 percent in 2010.
  • Ratings of local governments have stayed at about the same level since 2002, with about one-third respondents saying they are doing an excellent or good job at solving problems.

On the plus side, results indicate respondents’ satisfaction with their community and neighborhood is higher in 2010 than at any other point in the 2002-10 period, Nelson said.

“In 2010, 85 percent said they were very or somewhat satisfied with their community and 91 percent with their neighborhood,” Nelson said, and there was a drop in respondents afraid to walk alone in their neighborhood at night – 45 percent in 2008 to 36.5 percent in 2010.

The Quality of Life survey is based on telephone interviews conducted in English and Spanish.

Established in 1980, the Social Research Lab in the College of Social Sciences assists students, faculty, governmental agencies and other organizations in applying research skills and computer applications in their research and classes.

The lab helps provide sampling design, questionnaire construction, interviewer training, data collection, coding, data entry, statistical analysis and computer applications.

Full survey results are included in the report “Quality of Life in the Central San Joaquin Valley: 2001 through 2010.”

For more information or a copy of the report, contact Nelson at or call 559.278.2275.

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