The Citizen - Page 3

Page |3 Executive Summary The purpose of the Sangamon County Citizen Survey is to establish benchmarks and evaluate changes in residents’ assessments of the quality of life in Sangamon County. The first survey was conducted in 2013 and provided local leaders, community organizations, and citizens with insight into issues facing local residents. This year’s survey is the second iteration of the survey with an expanded examination of issues surrounding education in the County. The following sections contain an analysis of the data collected by researchers from 576 individuals on a hundred questions across nine topical areas, including: culture and recreation, social well-being, health, education, economy, infrastructure, government and civic participation, environment, and public safety. In this executive summary, we highlight some of the major findings. The health and personal finances of Sangamon County residents are improving. When asked about their own personal health and their personal economic situation, Sangamon County residents report a marked increase from 2013 to 2015. The results of the 2015 Sangamon County Citizen survey indicate an increase in the rates of insured residents as well as those who report having a primary care physician. In fact, 96 percent of those surveyed report having health insurance coverage. This is up almost seven percentage points from the 2013 survey. In addition, the percent of Sangamon County residents who report that there have been times in the past 12 months when they did not have enough money to pay for health care or medicines decreased from 21 percent in 2013 to 15 percent in 2015. Residents also report an increase in their overall health with a fewer number of individuals reporting days of poor physical health, poor mental health, and days in which they were kept from usual activities. When asked about their own personal finances, Sangamon County residents are slightly less pessimistic. The 2015 Sangamon County Citizen Survey found 4.7 percent of residents are unemployed and currently seeking employment. Of those who are employed, 17 percent report being underemployed compared to 21 percent in 2013. In addition, residents who report that their personal financial condition is “worse off” than it was 12 months ago has decreased from 21 percent in 2013 to 13 percent in 2015. Residents report more positive evaluations of local leaders but less positive about the county, in general. Forty-one percent of Sangamon County residents feel Sangamon County has “strong” leadership. This perception has increased by 10 percentage points from the 2013 Sangamon County Citizen Survey. Fifty-nine percent of Sangamon County residents are confident that local elected leaders can effectively address local problems. This perception has increased seven percentage points from the 2013 Sangamon County Citizen Survey. Despite this, Sangamon County residents rate the county, in general, less positively. The percentage of residents who think Sangamon County is an “excellent” place to live, raise children, work, and retire has decreased while the percentage who rate it is a “poor” place to work, live, and retire has increased.