A new survey, aimed at understanding the perceptions of quality of life in Lancaster County, Pa., found that a majority of residents, 93%, reported having a good, or extremely good quality of life (See Chart 1: page 4 of report).

This survey was completed in Millersville University’s Polling & Research Office under the supervision of Dr. Kerrie Farkas, associate professor of English and director of the center for public scholarship, and Dr. Adam Lawrence, associate professor of government & political affairs.

The idea for this survey arose about a year ago through a collaborative effort between Farkas, Lawrence and Dr. Victor DeSantis, dean of graduate and professional studies. “This project could not have been possible without the guidance and support of Dr. Melvin Allen, executive director, Civic & Community Engagement & Research Project,” said Farkas.

“We were looking for a survey that would have an impact on the community, and given the current economic climate, we thought a survey that captured Lancaster residents’ perceptions of their quality of life would be appropriate and meaningful.”

Based on computer-assisted telephone interviews with 405 adults, the purpose of the survey, conducted from February 22 to March 17, 2010, was to better understand the degree to which Lancaster County residents are satisfied with their lives and their level of satisfaction in five key areas: work, neighborhood, community, health and education.

In addition to respondents reporting a high quality of life, results illustrated that most respondents felt that they had a strong or very strong sense of community [85 percent].

Regarding education, while 43 percent surveyed thought public colleges and universities were accessible, in terms of cost and location, more respondents believed they were only somewhat accessible [53 percent]. And while most results were more positive, only about one third of respondents, 34 percent, thought the public schools in their area were safe; 46 percent thought public schools were somewhat safe.

In terms of services, evaluations of snow removal, street maintenance and senior services stood out as least favorably rated, while trash collection, recycling and fire were most favorably rated.

This survey will be complete annually in the fall of each year. To view a copy of this year’s report, visit the Polling & Research Office website.

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