A Profile on Families in the Hudson Valley

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2003

CONTACT
Lee Miringoff
Marist College Institute for Public Opinion
845.575.5050

Diana Gurieva
The Dyson Foundation
845.677.0644

POUGHKEEPSIE- The quality of the public schools, the region’s economy, and the affordability of health care are the top priorities of families with children for the Hudson Valley. According to a follow-up report of “Many Voices, One Valley” that profiles families with children in the region by the Dyson Foundation and the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, improving the quality of the public schools is the most important priority for families with children. For single parent households the affordability of health care tops the list of concerns. Among the study’s central findings:
  • Making health care more affordable is the top priority among single parents. 18% of single parents do not currently have health insurance compared with 11% of adults in the region who are not currently covered.
  • 24% of Hudson Valley households either are currently without health insurance or have had at least one member of their household go without health insurance within the past year. Although people from all walks of life may experience a gap in health care coverage, there are some families that are more likely to face this problem. 40% of families with one parent had a gap in health insurance coverage for at least one member of the family in the past year. 37% of Hudson Valley households with earnings of less than $50,000 annually experienced a gap in health insurance in the past year.
  • Improving the quality of the public schools is an important priority for many Hudson Valley residents and community leaders, and it is the number one priority for families with children. 70% of Hudson Valley residents, including 72% of families with children, and 67% of community leaders rate the public schools in their community as excellent, very good, or good.
  • Providing more services for children including after-school activities for children and teenagers in the community is a major priority for families in the Hudson Valley especially single parents.
  • 54% of single parents and 52% of parents with earnings of less than $30,000 annually feel too little money is spent on child care and early education programs in their community compared with 33% of residents without children who share this opinion.
  • Although households in the Hudson Valley with school-age children are more likely to be online, family income is a factor. Only 54% of households with children with family incomes of less than $30,000 have access compared with 72% of households with children with family incomes between $30,000 and $49,000, and 88% of households with children with family incomes of $50,000 or more.
  • The economic health of the region is an important issue for most Hudson Valley residents and community leaders. Like Hudson Valley residents as a whole, 50% of families with children believe their community spends too little on improving the quality of jobs. 45% of community leaders in the Hudson Valley believe too little is spent on improving the quality of jobs in their community, and 44% feel spending is about right.
  • Households with children are more likely to have more than one earner in the household than Hudson Valley residents as a whole. 55% of families with children in which there is more than one adult in the household have more than one income compared with 38% of Hudson Valley households.
  • Children can be a motivating force to participation in community activities. 64% of Hudson Valley households with school age children are active in their community compared with 52% of residents without school age children.
  • Like Hudson Valley residents as a whole, 50% of families with children feel decisionmakers in their community do not see things the same way the public does.
The project “Many Voices, One Valley” is based on two companion surveys that were conducted by telephone throughout the six counties of the Hudson Valley. The first survey interviewed residents of the Hudson Valley from October 5th through December 10th, 2001. The second survey interviewed community leaders within the same six counties from November 25th through December 19th, 2001. The sampling error for the results is:

Count Percent of Sample Margin of Error +/-
Hudson Valley Residents 3880 100% 2.0%
Children in HH 1680 43% 2.4%
Household with school age children 1426 37% 2.6%
Household with children under 5 540 14% 4.2%
Single parent household 186 5% 7.2%


The report “A Profile of Families in the Hudson Valley” is available on the Internet at www.dysonfoundation.org/manyvoices.html. It can be accessed from the Dyson Foundation website (www.dysonfoundation.org) or the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion website (www.maristpoll.marist.edu). The full study, “Many Voices, One Valley,” along with summaries for Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, and Ulster counties may be accessed from the site as well. Copies are also available from the Dyson Foundation's offices.

For more information about this press release, contact:
Lee Miringoff, Marist College Institute for Public Opinion
(845) 575-5050
Diana Gurieva, The Dyson Foundation
(845) 677-0644 ext. 12