Dyson Foundation and Marist Poll Release New Study

Measuring the Priorities of Mid-Hudson Valley Residents

Many Voices One Valley 2012

Contact: The Marist Poll, 845-575-5050
Lee M. Miringoff
Mary E. Azzoli
The Dyson Foundation
Diana M. Gurieva, 845-677-0644
Steve Densmore, 845-234-8713

Poughkeepsie – Living in the Mid-Hudson Valley is, overall, an enjoyable experience for most residents in the region. Residents also believe they can make a difference in their community. However, 61% believe it is an unaffordable place to live, and economic concerns are forcing a significant proportion of residents to consider moving away. It is not surprising that economic issues are top of mind for Mid-Hudson Valley residents.

This study, Many Voices One Valley 2012, is the second quinquennial update of a survey conducted by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in partnership with the Dyson Foundation. It updates similar surveys conducted in 2007 and 2002.

"This far-reaching report provides a window into the day-to-day lives of Mid-Hudson Valley residents, clearly demonstrating their challenges, hopes and priorities. We hope the region's leaders and service providers will utilize this resource to help guide their actions on residents' behalf," said Robert Dyson, President of the Dyson Foundation.

A total of 4,443 residents living in Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties were interviewed from February 2nd through March 14th, 2012. Survey results for all residents are statistically significant at ±1.5%.

"One of the advantages of a project of this magnitude is the ability to identify important trends in the Mid-Hudson Valley," says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "Clearly, the economy and jobs are now top of mind for people in the region."

"This third Many Voices One Valley report, so ably produced by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, gives us a fascinating look at the evolution of Mid-Hudson Valley residents' viewpoints and priorities over a 10-year period," said Diana Gurieva, Executive Vice President of the Dyson Foundation.

What do the results for 2012 show? How have they changed over the past decade? The study's key findings include:

  • Most residents, 84%, like living in the Mid-Hudson Valley.
  • Economic concerns have surpassed health care worries as the leading priorities in the region. With 44% of residents citing business retention as their top priority, keeping businesses in the area is the leading issue for residents. Job creation follows closely behind. Reducing taxes ranks sixth and is of lesser concern than in 2007 when it placed third.
  • Residents are also concerned about the quality of jobs in their community. Nearly seven in ten residents, 69%, are disappointed with the quality of their local jobs, and 67% believe their community needs to expend more resources to improve them.
  • Most Mid-Hudson Valley residents see a bleak jobs picture. They perceive jobs as hard to come by, and nearly half of residents are concerned that someone in their household will become unemployed. If they were to lose their job, 76% of employed residents are pessimistic that they would be able to find a similar position.
  • The Mid-Hudson Valley was not immune from the recession. A notable 28% of residents found themselves searching for a job at some point after the recession hit in 2007. A majority of Mid-Hudson Valley residents, 51%, think the effects of the recession are long-lasting, and the jobs which were lost will never return.
  • Housing concerns are also prevalent in the region. Sixty-two percent of Mid-Hudson Valley residents think there is a need for more affordable housing. A majority of renters, 56%, say, if they cannot afford to buy a home, they will leave the region. Homeowners have their own concerns. Almost three in ten homeowners, 29%, report that they would still owe more money than they would receive if they were to sell their home today.
  • Providing affordable health care remains a pressing concern for residents in the Mid-Hudson Valley region and is among their top five priorities. It ranked first in 2007.
  • The proportion of residents who have experienced a gap in health coverage over the past year has not changed. Today, that proportion is 24%. However, small strides have been made over the decade in providing continuous coverage to children.
  • Providing quality education has remained a leading concern for residents in the Mid-Hudson Valley since 2002. The issue has ranked within the top five since that time and currently places third.
  • Providing services for senior citizens rounds out residents' top five priorities.

There are three reports which detail many of the findings from the current survey as well as comparisons over the past decade. The first report, Many Voices One Valley, focuses on people's perceptions of living and working in the Mid-Hudson Valley and discusses their priorities for the future. Making Ends Meet is the second report which presents residents' attitudes toward the region's affordability and other financial factors which affect their lives. Finally, Health Matters discusses people's thoughts about the quality of health care in their community and addresses the factors that influence the ability of people to afford and access health care.

For county comparisons, demographic information, and complete survey findings and reports, visit www.manyvoicesonevalley.org. Information about the survey is available on
Facebook at www.facebook.com/MVOV2012, or you can follow us on www.Twitter.com/mvov2012. For more information about the Dyson Foundation, visit
www.dysonfoundation.org. Information about the Marist Institute for Public Opinion is located at www.maristpoll.marist.edu.