Quality of life in New Jersey remains high despite a slight drop-off in optimism as a result of Superstorm Sandy according to Monmouth University's latest Garden State Quality of Life Index.

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A major factor in the index score is residents' overall rating of the state as a place to live. Currently, more than 2-in-3 residents say New Jersey is either an excellent (18 percent) or good (50 percent) place to call home, compared to 3-in-10 who rate it as only fair (24 percent) or poor (7 percent).

"This 68 percent positive rating is down by 4 points from the decade-high 72 percent recorded in December, just after Superstorm Sandy hit the state," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. "It's still one of the highest readings we've seen in the past decade."

In terms of the overall index score, the slight statewide rating drop was offset by a 3-point increase in residents' opinion of their local schools, which now stands at 64 percent positive. Other components of the index include positive ratings of one's town as a place to live (73 percent), local environment (71 percent), and neighborhood safety (63 percent). These ratings are no more than one or two percentage points lower than the December poll results.

"While there has been a slight decline in New Jerseyans' feelings of goodwill about their home state, post-Sandy positivity is still well in evidence," said Murray. "We still find a lot of very positive feelings including down the shore and the hardest hit areas where people are still feeling positive about the state."

Regional Breakdown

The Index score remained fairly steady for nearly every demographic group when compared to December's results. There are only a couple of regional differences. The score among residents of the Route 1 Corridor has gone up by 9 points, while the score among Central Hills residents has declined by 10 points. In prior polls, Central Hills residents consistently gave the highest ratings on New Jersey's quality of life. This group is still numerically highest in the current poll, but they are now closely followed by both Northern Shore and Route 1 Corridor residents.

About The Poll

The Monmouth University Polling Institute created the Index to serve as a resident-based indicator of the quality of life offered by the state of New Jersey. It's based on five separate poll questions: overall opinion of the state as a place to live, which contributes half the index score, and ratings of one's hometown, the performance of local schools, the quality of the local environment, and feelings of safety in one's own neighborhood.



The poll conducted by telephone with 803 New Jersey adults from February 6 to February 10, 2013.