Quality of Life Survey Ranks City of Jonesboro

FEBRUARY 18, 2007 -- POSTED AT 8:30 P.M. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- If you've ever wondered what the average Jonesboro resident thinks about the city, we have the answer. ASU's Center for Social Research conducts their quality of life survey for Jonesboro each year for the past 5 years. They've been able to clear the air on some debatable hot topics concerning Jonesboro.

"55 percent of the population thinks that Jonesboro is becoming a better place to live and in years past," says William McLean, a professor for the ASU Department of Political Science.

McLean and Dr. Patrick Stewart started this Quality of Life Survey for Jonesboro in 2003.

"We really want to serve the community of Jonesboro by providing them with a feedback valve to public officials," says Dr. Patrick Stewart, also an ASU Political Science Professor.

Students from the Department of Political Science randomly called 389 Jonesboro residents, asking them questions and trying to get their opinion on issues facing the city. For instance, one topic concerned the ever-popular wet-dry alcohol issue.

"Older individuals were more likely to oppose alcohol coming into Jonesboro and especially older women are more opposed to it. I think it's a biased statement that some people just want to keep things as they are," says Dr. Stewart.

The results for 2007 showed that 49 percent opposed the sale of alcohol in Jonesboro, with a close 41 percent supporting alcohol in the city. But the wet-dry issue isn't a top concern. Traffic and drugs were the top 2 problems that came out of the research.

"We see that people are unhappy with the conditions of local streets and roads. We see people mention traffic as the biggest problem facing Jonesboro. Obviously, people view crime as a big problem here in Jonesboro. Again, it's largely related to people mentioning methamphetamine as a problem that continues to plague the city and I think it's a problem that continues to plague the state as well," says McLean.

But the survey shows, they don't blame the police or public leaders. The police and fire department both showed strong support responses, along with overall support for city leaders.

"With growth, there are growing pains, but there are certainly benefits and it's reflected in the surveys," says Dr. Stewart.

The item that received the most support on the survey was the desire for construction of more sidewalks and bike paths.

"We have over 80 percent of the population in our last four surveys that continue to say that Jonesboro needs more sidewalks and bike paths," adds McLean.

McLean says he thinks that reflects back on the positive quality of life in the city of Jonesboro. People want to be outside and enjoy the city they live in.

According to the ASU Center for Social Research, this survey is accurate 19 times out of 20, with an error margin of only plus or minus 5 percent.