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CT is Worse Now Than 25 Years Ago, Survey Finds; Young People Are Most Upbeat, More Residents Say It’s Likely They’ll Be Leaving

(Final in series of three InformCT releases, sent 11/6/17 and 11/14/17)

(Statewide) – Is Connecticut getting worse or getting better? A majority of state residents say that Connecticut has become a worse place to live over the past 25 years. A statewide survey found that 56 percent say things have gotten worse since 1992, while 20 percent hold the opposite view – that Connecticut is a better place to live than it was in 1992. Twelve percent say it’s the same.

When a similar survey was done in 1996, asking state residents to reflect back 25 years, 45 percent said that the state was a worse place to live, 13 percent said it was better and 35 percent said it was the same as in 1971.

In both 2017 and 1996, approximately three times more residents said the state had become a worse place to live during the preceding two and a half decades. The margin was slightly wider in 1996 than this year.

The new results were collected as part of the InformCT Consumer Confidence Survey, conducted in the third quarter of this year. InformCT is a public-private partnership that provides independent, non-partisan research, analysis, and public outreach to help create fact-based dialogue and action in Connecticut. Administered by researchers from the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. and Smith & Company, the analysis is based on the responses of residents across Connecticut and provides a glimpse of the public’s views. The 1996 survey was also conducted by Smith & Company.



Younger Residents Have “Better” View

For a state concerned about the number of young people moving from Connecticut, the results suggest a silver lining. The age groups with the largest number of people who believe that Connecticut is a better place to live today than 25 years ago are those age 18-21 (34%) and age 22-25 (32%) – even though they were not yet born. Reflecting that, more than 25 percent in each of those age categories said they don’t know. The 22-25 year olds were almost evenly split between those who said things had gotten worse (36%) and those who believe things had gotten better (32%).

Among the older age groups, the response was overwhelmingly that the state was worse today than 25 years ago, with more than 7 in 10 residents expressing that view. The older the age demographic, the larger the number who held that opinion – 71 percent of those age 46-55, 74 percent in the 56-65 age group, and 78 percent of those over age 65. In the 1996 survey, older residents were the largest age groups to express the view that things had gotten worse in the previous 25 years.

Four times as many respondents age 18-21 (17%) said the state was now a “much better” place to live, compared with those over age 65 (4%). Conversely, 31 percent of those over age 65 said things were much worse today, compared with only 5 percent of 18-21 year olds and 6 percent of 22-25 year olds.

There were also differences across Connecticut’s geography. The better place vs. worse place percentages in the state’s eight counties were:

Fairfield 22% - 48% New Haven 11% - 64%
Hartford 25% - 54% New London 13% - 53%
Litchfield 13% - 73% Tolland 13% - 67%
Middlesex 23% - 57% Windham 20% - 47%


Good Place to Live and Raise a Family – If You Stay

Despite overwhelmingly expressing the view that living in Connecticut had gotten worse, not better, for more than two decades, survey respondents by a margin of 48 percent to 29 percent believe that “Connecticut is a good place to live and raise a family.” Those numbers were unchanged in the third quarter of the year as compared with the previous quarter, but slipped slightly from the end of last year (57% - 23% in Q4 2016).

When selecting a town in which to live, residents indicated that property taxes (58%), the quality of the school system (53%), proximity to transportation and employment (28%), recent appreciation of home values (28%) and proximity to entertainment and amenities (24%) are the factors that are very important. More than 7 in 10 respondents indicated that property taxes and the quality of the school system are important or very important factors in deciding which town to live in.  

More residents are indicating, however, that they may be headed out of town. The percentage of those who said it was likely they would move out of Connecticut within five years increased for the fourth consecutive quarter, reaching 43 percent, compared with 34 percent who said moving out was unlikely. In the third quarter of 2016, the split was 34% - 42%. The 43 percent who indicated in the latest survey that moving from Connecticut was likely is the largest percentage since the first quarter of 2016, which also topped out at 43 percent.

Nearly 6 in 10 residents (59%) age 18-21 say it is likely they will move out within five years, while 5 in 10 in the 22-25 age group were likely to do so (53%), and 4 in 10 for those age 36-65.