The Citizen - Page 65

P a g e | 65 When asked if they have considered moving out or away from Sangamon County the majority of respondents (63 percent) report they have not. However, it is important to understand why the 34 percent of respondents who responded “yes” have considered moving away. Interested in what would make respondents stay in the county, the survey asked those who said they have thought about moving away what would make them stay in the county. Researchers at SRO coded these responses into several categories. As may be seen in the figure, respondents most frequently cited more or better job opportunities as reasons they would stay in Sangamon County. Other respondents noted that a change in their personal situation would need to occur in order for them to stay. A lower cost of living was cited by some respondents as a reason they would consider staying. This is somewhat of a surprise given Springfield’s relatively low cost of living as compared to the national average. Still, if respondents are having trouble finding high-paying jobs, expenses, such as housing and groceries, are going to be an issue for them. For instance according to one respondent “cheaper taxes and housing [are needed]…cost of living is a big issue.” This underscores the importance of taxation to many respondents. These individuals cited “lower property taxes” and an “overall lower state tax” as changes they would make them stay. Another change that would make some respondents stay in Springfield is a change in government. These respondents indicated they would like to see “better government” and “new government.” Top answers to the question, “what would Rounding out the list are improvements in make you stay?”(coded responses) education in Sangamon County. Having a “better school” system was cited as a change that would CATEGORY FREQUENCY (n) make one respondent stay while another 24 respondent cited having “better nursing programs Finance/job Personal situation 20 in Springfield.” Other responses focused on Weather 13 culture and diversity issues. Being a more Cost of Living 11 ethnically diverse community with a “more Don’t know 10 progressive approach to everything” was cited as Government 10 a change that would make one respondent stay. School/College 7 Finally, some respondents indicated that, though they have thought about moving away from Its home 6 Sangamon County, ultimately it is home. One Other responses 14 respondent said “this is where I am from. It is my hometown.” Obviously, citizens in Sangamon County, no matter how civically engaged, cannot change the weather nor can they change personal circumstances which may influence a person’s desire to leave Sangamon County. However, issues such as the economy, government, and education are able to be addressed by local leaders and organizations.