A large majority of respondents to a survey of Jefferson Parish residents are pleased with their quality of life, suggesting they generally approve of how public officials are handling crime, government services and other issues related to their daily lives.
Roughly 75% of the 700 respondents to the phone survey, conducted by local pollster Ron Faucheux and funded by Jefferson Parish business and economic groups, rated the quality of life in the parish as "excellent" or "good," according to a report on the findings released Wednesday.
The survey was conducted in late February and early March and had a margin of error of 3.7%. It echoed findings from the most recent University of New Orleans' quality-of-life survey, which was released last year, that found that Jefferson Parish residents were more content than New Orleanians.
In October, the UNO survey, conducted by pollster Ed Chervenak, said that 89% of respondents in Jefferson Parish were pleased with their quality of life, compared to 44% of the poll's respondents from New Orleans. More recent data on quality of life in New Orleans was not available.
“This survey validated what I thought most Jefferson Parish residents intuitively felt," said Philip Rebowe, chairman of the Jefferson Business Council. "As the parish has transitioned from a small suburban community to one of the most populated and economically diverse parishes in the state, we have been able to maintain an enviable quality of life."
This is the first poll from this group on the topic. A news release accompanying the survey said the groups planned to use it as a baseline for future surveys.
Are you happy here?
The survey comes as Jefferson Parish has largely been spared from the sharp increase in murders and other violent crimes that have afflicted Orleans Parish since the start of the COVID pandemic. Government services, such as trash pickups, also haven't seen the same issues recently.
Those and other issues have raised bigger alarms recently in New Orleans, culminating in a failed attempt earlier this year to recall Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
Jefferson Parish's handling of garbage pick-up and disposal, levee and flood protection and public safety and crime control received high approval ratings from respondents in the recent survey.
While the new survey indicated that there was broad satisfaction with Jefferson parish across race, age and income levels, there were some disparities.
The poll found that 80% of White respondents rated life in the parish as excellent or good, while 66% of Black respondents, people identifying as other races and people of Hispanic origin said the same. On the East Bank, 79% of respondents were pleased with their quality of life, while that figure was 69% on the West Bank.
Divided by age, 68% of 18-44-year-olds, 74% of 45-64-year-olds and 86% of those 65 and older who responded to the survey said their quality of life was good or excellent. Sixty-eight percent of respondents with incomes above $100,000 and 65% of college grads rated the parish similarly.
Sixty nine percent of people in the 18-44 age range said Jefferson Parish was an excellent or good place to raise young families.
People flagged "having a stronger local economy with prospects for career advancement," "better schools and child care" and "more recreational and healthy living opportunities" as areas for improvement.
Economics and leadership
Overall, residents are satisfied with government and parish officials, with residents giving the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office an 81% positive rating, the parish council a 60% positive rating, the District Attorney’s Office a 57% positive rating and the school board a 46% positive rating.
The majority of respondents, 68%, said Jefferson Parish is a good place to retire and 68% said they plan to stay in the parish for five years.
Still, 35% of 18-to-44-year-olds said they would leave in the next five years, a statistic the survey authors said was a "serious issue for the future."