Inflation tops list of north country concerns, says survey

Annual community survey
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 5:56 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Healthcare, housing, higher education. What do people in the area think about these topics?

Jefferson Community College released its 23rd Annual North Country Survey of the Community on Thursday and hopes the results help find ways of improving the quality of life in the region.

“Key community attributes like housing, jobs, safety, the environment, government, education. All the things we measure,” said Joel LaLone, director of the Center For Community Studies.

The biggest issue facing the region is inflation. More than 40 percent of those surveyed said living expenses are a problem. Finding affordable housing was second.

“Early on we saw that the responses to the question, ‘What is the single largest issue facing residents of the north country?’ Inflation came up,” said LaLone.

People also feel that their own communities are heading in the wrong direction.

“It’s aligning with some of those services, quality of life issues, we saw this year a little bit of a decline in the positivity amongst those quality of life issues that we have tracked for such a long period of time,” said LaLone.

As for where things are headed, 68 percent of people surveyed said the country is going in the wrong direction.

Locally, a third of people living in Jefferson County feel the county is headed in the wrong direction.

Nearly half of the people in St. Lawrence County feel that same way.

In Lewis County, people appear to be more optimistic about that state of things locally.

“Residents of Lewis County are very proud of their county, of the businesses there, of the schools there, of the governments there, of the leadership there. When it came time to evaluate in our county, they were much more prideful than the other two,” said LaLone.

What about getting a good job? Thirty percent of people in the three counties say they think the chance is excellent or good, a record high.

Nearly 1,500 people in the tri-county participated in the survey.

The answers were collected from a wide sample size varying in gender, age, race, occupation, and political beliefs.

See the survey results below: