Has the Garden State improved a bunch since earlier this year?

In a new Monmouth University Poll, 61% of New Jersey adults rate the state as either an excellent (15%) or good (46%) place to call home. While the state's posted better numbers in the past, the latest positive rating is a large improvement from the record-low 50% recorded in February.

The polling institute's Garden State Quality of Life Index, based on five separate poll questions, posted a score of +24 for September 2019, up from +13 in February and one of the better overall index scores from the past few years.

In the poll, more than 70% of respondents rated their own municipality as an excellent or good place to live, while close to 70% currently feel safe in their own neighborhoods at night. When asked to rate the performance of local schools, residents gave a positive rating of 60%. Ratings were 72% positive for local environmental quality.

"It wasn't looking good earlier this year as public sentiment about life in the Garden State hit a four-decade law. But those numbers have certainly bounced back, at least for now," said poll director Patrick Murray.

The index rebounded the greatest amount in the Delaware Valley (Burlington, Camden, Gloucester), while most other region saw mild increases.

Compared to February's findings, positive reviews of New Jersey have increased among men and women, white people and people of color, and residents at all income levels. By age, the biggest jump in positivity was recorded among those 18 to 34 years old.

"People have gotten a little bit more optimistic, or at least as optimistic as they usually are," Murray said.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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