August 20, 2019 | 81° F

Rutgers poll finds correlation between wealth, community satisfaction in New Jersey

Photo by Camilo Montoya-Galvez |

A Rutgers Center for State Health Policy poll found disparities with neighborhood satisfaction based on race and income.

A recent Rutgers Center for State Health Policy poll found the overall neighborhood satisfaction of people living in New Jersey by examining the overall satisfaction with residents' neighborhoods,  their access to healthy food, places to walk and exercise, according to the poll.

But there are disparities in the findings based on race and income. 

While 81 percent of those surveyed responded that their neighborhoods are considered a “good or excellent” place to live, 91 percent of those respondents had a high income, 78 percent had middle income and 57 percent received low income, according to the poll.

People in low-income black or Hispanic families who reported being less healthy or without health insurance also rated their neighborhoods lower, according to the poll. Lower income residents also were more likely to rate their neighborhoods as a poor place to buy healthy foods.

The study also found that racial tensions may contribute to the findings of lower scoring in neighborhoods. While only 1 in 10 respondents felt there was a lot of racial tension in their neighborhood, 25 percent felt there was some tension, with those rating their neighborhoods lower tending to rate the level of perceived racial tension higher.

The poll revealed that more than half of New Jersey citizens are concerned about water and air quality, while black citizens are more inclined to be worried.

The poll was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), which works to help broaden the discussion about what shapes health and set a new standard of health, equity and well-being for all communities, according to their website

The goal of the RWJF is to engage policymakers, business leaders, community groups and many other stakeholders with a common interest in making it easier for everyone to get and stay healthy, according to the site.

This goal was one of the main reasons for the poll, said Joel Cantor, a distinguished professor in the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and a contributor to the poll to Rutgers Today.

He said the poll will help to stimulate dialogue between residents and policy-makers on how to improve the health and well-being of people living in New Jersey.

“We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible,” said Kerry Anne McGeary, senior program officer at RWJF to Rutgers Today. “This poll helps us understand how residents view their access to healthy choices across New Jersey and identify where we all have more work to do.”

Chloe Dopico is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science and journalism and media studies. She is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @ChloeDopico for more.

Chloe Dopico

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