The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll recently collaborated with NJ Spotlight on some survey questions in our latest poll to assess attitudes on New Jersey’s cities in preparation for the NJ Spotlight on Cities 2016 Conference.
NJ Cities as a Place to Live
Views on New Jersey’s cities are mixed: 44 percent of New Jersey residents rate cities as an excellent or good place to live, while 48 percent say they are only a fair or poor place to live.
Younger residents are more likely to give more positive ratings compared to older residents, as are more affluent residents compared to those in lower income brackets.
Those living in urban or southern areas of the state – and those especially living in cities themselves – are less likely to give positive ratings to city living.
NJ Cities: Better or Worse?
Three decades later, there has been little change in how residents feel about cities’ progression over time. Today, 23 percent of residents believe cities have gotten better over the past five years, 30 percent say they have gotten worse, and 37 percent see no change.
Views vary by important demographics like partisanship, gender, age, and race, as well as by key socioeconomic factors like income and education. Location once again plays a role in residents’ perceptions.
How to Make Cities Better
Residents point to two key things when it comes to determining how to make cities in New Jersey a better place to live – providing more job opportunities and improving public safety. These two ideas tie for first place, followed closely behind by improving the quality of schools.
Some groups believe more firmly that jobs are most important (like Democrats), while other groups believe more in the need for public safety (like Republicans).
The Impact of School Funding Laws
New Jerseyans once again have mixed views when it comes to the effects of school funding laws, both within their own school districts and within urban school districts across the state.
In either case, more than 4 in 10 New Jerseyans believe that school funding laws in the last three decades have not significantly changed the quality of public school education – whether in local or in urban districts.
Democrats, men, and younger residents have a better view of urban school districts.
Results are from a statewide poll of 802 adults contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Sept. 6 to 10, 2016, including 735 registered voters reported on in this release. The sample has a margin of error of +/-3.8 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.