Survey shows decline in St. Lawrence County residents’ outlook, finances

Updated: Apr. 19, 2021 at 6:00 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - People living in St. Lawrence County say they are down on the local economy, are struggling financially and overall, are not as happy as they’ve been in previous years. That’s according a survey that was just released.

The Jefferson Community College Center for Community Studies talked to more than 400 St. Lawrence County residents last fall for its annual survey of the county. That survey is showing that 55 percent of people said they had a positive view on the overall quality of life - the lowest number recorded since the survey began in 2015. That’s the lowest reading in the tri-county area.

“Really with the other counties, we were kind of surprised that people were more positive than we thought they might be in response because we experienced the pandemic. In St. Lawrence County, we saw the dip that I think we expected to see in the other counties,” said Larry Danforth, research coordinator, Center for Community Studies.

And St. Lawrence County residents are down on the economy as well.

According to the survey, 52 percent said the availability of good jobs is “poor” and 40 percent said the overall state of the local economy is “poor.”

Nearly a third of people asked say their financial situation has gotten worse in the past year, while 8 percent say it has improved.

“So two years ago, it was 29 to 11, better to worse; 2020, it basically did a flip-flop,” said Danforth.

On a positive note, 60 percent of St. Lawrence County residents say they think the quality of K-12 education is either good or excellent.

Making its debut on this year’s survey, was the question of legal recreational marijuana. 61 percent support it, while 71 percent think farmers should be allowed to grow and profit from it. Those numbers are slightly higher than Jefferson County and much higher than Lewis County, where 43 percent support it.

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