Thursday, July 7, 2011
The economic outlook for the country and the local area is not necessarily rosy, and there is certainly a considerable amount of partisan rancor on the national political scene, but residents of an area from western metro Atlanta to Georgia's western border seem pleased with their community and with their lives, based on the results of a recent social scientific survey by University of West Georgia researchers.
The Survey Research Center at UWG conducted its first ever West Georgia Area Survey, finding that nearly 90 percent of respondents said they were either “very happy” or “happy” when asked about their general level of overall life happiness, and nearly an equal percentage rated their local community as “excellent,” “very good,” or a “good” place to live.
The local respondents had a more favorable view of their lives and area than did national respondents to the 2010 General Social Survey when asked similar questions. Further, respondents reported rather high levels of trust for their neighbors, co-workers, those with whom they worship, and local law enforcement officers.
Residents in the West Georgia area also reported being highly active and engaged in the community. Of those surveyed, roughly half are involved in religious organizations and charitable organizations for the needy, with a large number also involved in senior citizens groups, neighborhood organizations, hobby groups, school organizations, support groups, Scouts or other youth groups, and other types of local organizations.
Many in the survey indicated that they were involved in several types of these organizations at levels that demonstrate a high level of involvement compared with other studies around the United States.
More advanced statistical analyses indicated that residents who live longer in the local community generally display higher levels of trust, participate more in civic life and are less fearful of crime.
The telephone survey conducted in late 2010 had 380 respondents from a seven-county area around the University of West Georgia: Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Haralson, Heard, Paulding, and Troup. Several researchers in UWG's Departments of Sociology and Criminology participated in the project, which is planned to continue on an annual basis. Researchers will ask questions on a variety of topics of interest in an effort to gain an understanding both of key trends and new or emerging issues of interest to researchers, policy makers, business leaders, and community members.