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New poll finds Stark County residents less satisfied with the county as a place to live

Photo of the Stark County Courthouse
M.L. Schultze
The Stark County Community Pulse Report found the lowest positive rating of Stark County as a place to live in 16 years.

A new poll finds that Stark County residents are less satisfied with the county as a place to live.

The annual Stark County Community Pulse Report conducted by the Center for Marketing and Opinion Research (CMOR) looks at the quality of life in the county and assesses community needs.

This year, 26% of those taking the survey named an economic issue as the most important problem facing the community. That’s up from only 10% last year. Amanda Barna is principal and cofounder of the research company.

“So a lot more people are feeling that crunch because of inflation and the rise in gas prices," Barna said.

The poll also found that only 61% of respondents were satisfied with Stark County as a place to live, the lowest rating in the 16-year history of the poll. Barna said she's not surprised.

“Really coming out of the pandemic there’s so much uncertainty in a lot of different areas," Barna said, "and I think that that’s really that uncertainty is reflective in a lot of the responses and the findings that we saw this year.”

Crime and safety concerns were cited most frequently as the most important issue facing the county, followed closely behind by economic issues, such as inflation and gas prices. Only 24% of respondents reported being better off financially than a few years ago, the lowest percentage to date.

This is a major shift from the past two years where the pandemic was top of mind for respondents. 44% of respondents identified the COVID-19 pandemic and other health related issues as the most important issue in 2020. That dropped to 18% last year and is only at 4% this year.

The housing market is another factor residents view poorly. Only 36% of residents rated the availability of affordable housing positively, a decrease from 56% in 2020 when there was an eviction moratorium.

There is one part of the economy residents viewed favorably: the job market. The availability of job opportunities hit an all-time high of 59% this year, significantly higher than 27% in 2016.

Data for the report comes from the Collaborative Poll program. CMOR has been conducting polls since 2007.

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.