Campus: CSU Fresno -- November 14, 2005

Fresno State Research Looks At The Perceptions Of Valley Residents On The Quality Of Their Lives

A research report on the quality of life in the Valley issued by California State University, Fresno found residents in four counties (Fresno, Tulare, Kings, and Madera) have a somewhat more positive outlook about their financial situation than they did five years ago. But people are less confident in both the quality of government performance and in the performance of public schools in their community and the state.

The report "Quality of Life in the Central San Joaquin Valley: 2001 through 2005" was issued by the Social Research Laboratory, which is part of the College of Social Sciences.

Established in 1980, the Social Research Lab assists students, faculty, governmental agencies and other organizations in applying research skills and computer applications in their research and classes. The lab provides assistance in a number of areas including sampling design, questionnaire construction, interviewer training, data collection, coding, data entry, statistical analysis and computer applications.

Director Edward Nelson said the Social Research Lab has been conducting quality of life surveys for more than two decades. Prior to 2000, the focus was the Fresno-Clovis area. In 2000, Fresno County was included and in 2001, researchers began studying Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Madera counties.

This report looks at 2001 through 2005 and the four counties of Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kings.

Nelson found the following trends:

  • Financial satisfaction has been increasing slightly from 2001 to 2005. There was a modest increase of 5 percentage points in those pretty well satisfied. However, there was actually a decrease from 38% pretty well satisfied in 2004 to 32% in 2005. The 2006 survey will determine if this is a new pattern or just a temporary dip.


  • People are not pleased with the performance of government at all levels - local, state, and federal.
    • Ratings given local and the federal government have gone down since 2002.
    • Ratings given the state government are the lowest of all levels and have stayed at the same low level since 2002.
    • Confidence in the political and business leadership in local communities is at a fairly low level and has decreased slightly since 2002.


  • A majority of respondents think that crime has stayed at about the same level since 2002. However, in 2004 and 2005 slightly more people think it has been increasing than decreasing.
    • Concern with crime can be measured by asking respondents if they are afraid to walk alone in their neighborhood at night and whether they have changed or limited their activities because of crime.
    • In 2005 a little less than 40% were afraid to walk alone in their neighborhood at night and about 30% had limited or changed their activities because of crime.
    • A little less than one-fifth (18%) were both afraid of walking alone in their neighborhood at night and had changed their behavior because of crime. This can be used as an estimate of those who are extremely concerned with crime.


  • In 2005, about 37% of respondents thought the public schools in the state were doing an excellent or good job. More people, about 58%, thought their local community schools were doing an excellent or good job.


  • Satisfaction with community and neighborhood is at a fairly high level. Between 77% and 81% were satisfied with their community and between 80% and 87% were satisfied with their neighborhood.


  • Nelson said the Social Research Laboratory will be repeating the quality of life survey in the four-county area in spring 2006.

    To view the entire Quality of Life report, see www.FresnoStateNews.com.


Contact: Shirley Melikian Armbruster, (559) 278-5292 or (559) 593-1815


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