If you’re a retiree, Escambia County is the place to be.
For recent college grads, people in poverty and entrepreneurs, singles ready to mingle and families with young children, Escambia County is a work in progress. In fact 58 percent of those surveyed said they had a relative ages 18-25 who planned to move away from the area in the next five years.
Those are some of the findings of the 2014 Quality of Life Survey conducted by the Better Pensacola Forum with Pensacola Young Professionals and Mason-Dixon. The results were released today.
The survey aims to reflect how area residents feel about Pensacola’s living conditions, plans for the future and opportunities.
“The results show a continued primary concern about our economy for the seventh year consecutively. Voters also continue to share a concern regarding crime/drugs and education,” said PYP Director Rachael Gillette. “One of PYP’s focus areas this year is education; so, we included questions regarding people’s perception of the biggest problems facing our schools and asked participants to rate the performance of the School Board and School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas.”
Of those surveyed, 34 percent said a lack of academic standards was the biggest issue schools faced. Thirty-four percent also said they were not sure what the biggest problem facing schools was. Lack of funding was the third most frequently given answer to that question.
“We continually hear that education is a concern for our residents,” says John Fifer who is an associate with Beck Property Company and is a member of PYP’s Economic Development Team. “In addition, professionally, we know that businesses considering relocation to Pensacola are looking closely at educational opportunities and quality.”
Yet, of those surveyed, 46 percent had a positive opinion of the School Board’s performance. And 56 percent had a positive view of the job Escambia Superintendent Malcolm Thomas was doing.
Other elected officials also were evaluated.
— City of Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward received a 67 percent positive rating in the city (with 53 percent positive in the suburbs and 55 percent positive countywide).
— Pensacola City Council had an overall 28 percent positive rating.
— Escambia County Commissioners had an overall 32 percent positive performance rating.
Conducted annually since 2008, the Quality of Life survey is a compilation of the opinions of 800 registered voters in Escambia County, who are chosen at random. Voters are contacted by telephone (land lines and cell phones) to participate in the survey.
Pensacola Young Professionals has managed the Better Pensacola Forum for the last three years and Larry Harris, principal at Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, supervised the polling process.
Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. is an independent polling firm located in Washington, DC, that conducts public policy and political polling and research for news media, advocacy groups, trade associations, public relations and marketing professionals. Mason-Dixon conducted this survey from May 27-29, 2014. Those interviewed were selected randomly from a commercially available Florida State voter registration file. The resulting sample fairly reflects the demographic profile of voters in Escambia County.
This article originally appeared on Progress+Promise.