A new poll conducted in Stark County reveals that residents’ opinions about the county have remained relatively unchanged from the previous year. However, a smaller percentage of residents reported feeling better off financially. The Stark County Community Pulse report, published annually by the Center for Marketing and Opinion Research, aims to assess the quality of life in the county and help community leaders identify areas of need. The report takes into account residents’ concerns, their perception of the local economy, and more.
According to principal Amanda Barna, residents’ opinions align with the findings from the 2022 report. The most significant concerns for residents are crime and safety, closely followed by economic issues. This ranking remains consistent with the previous year. Crime and safety concerns were cited as the most important problem in Stark County by over a quarter of residents.
The biggest change since last year can be observed in residents’ economic outlook. Barna explains that the percentage of residents who believe they are better off financially than a few years ago has decreased significantly. Only 18% of residents reported an improvement in their financial situation. However, aside from this change, residents generally feel stable. Barna states that the county is fairly steady across various areas, with economic indicators being somewhat concerning but unsurprising given the current political climate.
Additionally, economic issues were identified by a quarter of residents as the most significant problem facing Stark County. When it comes to job opportunities, only half of residents rated their availability favorably, marking a decrease from the previous year’s high of 59%. The survey also found a decline in favorable ratings for the availability of affordable housing, dropping 24% from three years ago. Furthermore, only a third of residents rated the local economy favorably, representing a 13% decline from 2021. The positive rating of 61% for Stark County as a place to live marked the lowest figure for the second consecutive year.
Barna expresses curiosity about whether these downward trends will continue or if a turning point will be reached in the following years. Additionally, the survey included new aspects, such as residents’ ratings of the quality of entertainment and cultural activities in the county, as well as their perception of the local police. Almost half of residents rated the quality of local entertainment favorably, while more than half viewed the local police favorably. However, a significant discrepancy emerged among residents when it came to attitudes towards the police. Sixty percent of white residents rated the police favorably, compared to only 28% of nonwhite residents.