Are things getting better or worse?

The Siena Research Institute released an interesting poll today, a Capital Region "survey of social needs." The poll was intended to gauge how people in the Capital Region perceive the importance/severity of a bunch of social problems.

For example, the poll asked, "In general do you think the overall quality of life for most people in the Capital region has improved, stayed about the same or gotten worse over the last year?" Fifty-one percent of the respondents said things had "gotten worse."

Here are a few other results that caught our eye...

+ The poll asked people, "how important is it to you that you and your household contribute to addressing the needs of people that require assistance in your community?" Overall, 54 percent of respondents said it was "very important." But check out the breakdown by income:

less than $25k $25k - $50k $50k - $75k $75k - $100k $100k+
66% 51% 52% 49% 42%

+ But when asked about volunteering or donating to charities, the slope was reversed (98 percent of people with incomes over $100k reporting making a donation). Of course, the more money you make, the more money (and perhaps time) you have to donate.

+ The poll asked people about "potential problems that may impact people in your area." Check out the geographic breakdown for "lack of public safety" (percentage includes responses "most people" and "some people):

Albany County Rensselaer County Saratoga County Schenectady County
54% 54% 40% 59%

+ Respondents were asked about gang activity among youth. Fifty-seven percent of people in Schenectady County called it "very" or "somewhat" widespread, as did 43 percent in Albany County.

The poll was conducted in mid-November and included about 1000 respondents. The margin of error was +/- 3.1 percent. Here are the full crosstabs.


In addition, about the same % of people making over $100k itemize on their tax returns. I'd be willing to guess that's a huge factor in their "generosity."

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