Monmouth University released its latest Garden State Quality of Life Index on Wednesday, and the survey revealed its lowest-ever rating.

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The score of the index ranges from -100 to +100 and is now +18, down from +25 in June. The results show that safety concerns are the driving force behind the negative attitudes.

"In Monmouth University's regular tracking of how people in New Jersey feel about the quality of life in this state, we find that we've hit a record low in the four years that we've been doing this," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Local evaluations make up half of the index's score. Positive ratings for local environmental quality have dipped from 76 percent in April to 72 percent in the current poll. Positive evaluations of local public schools have dropped by three points, and positive attitudes about one's hometown as a place to live have also declined slightly, from 71 percent in April to 69 percent right now.

"All elements of the score have dropped, but the biggest drop has been among those who feel that they're not safe in their neighborhood," Murray said. "Fifty-eight percent of New Jersey residents say that they feel very safe in their own neighborhood at night. That's down a lot from 66 percent who said the same thing in April."

Despite the negative rating, about six in 10 respondents said New Jersey is an excellent (13 percent) or good (48 percent) place to call home. Twenty-five percent said it is a fair place to live, and 13 percent called the Garden State a poor place to live. The number of those who responded "poor" is the highest in any statewide poll in the last 30 years.

Younger New Jersey residents were the most pessimistic. The index score declined most dramatically among young adults ages 18 to 34, from +31 in April to +12 in this poll.