Thursday, December 15, 2011

Throughout the Bronx, residents have different views of life

A story that didn't make the paper this week (though a Riverdale-centric article does appear in the Riverdale Review).

By Brendan McHugh 

Bronxites appear split on a number of issues, according to a recent study, highlighting the range of diverse neighborhoods in the borough. 

Last week, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. released the results of his office’s first-ever “Well Being Survey.” The survey, which was conducted between late August and the end of October, was designed to measure the opinions of Bronx residents and those who work in the Bronx on a variety of issues that impact their communities. 

Approximately 1,900 individuals took part in the survey, which was available both online and in print at a wide variety of locations across the borough. Of that number 92.6 percent, or more than 1,750 individuals, live in the Bronx. 

“I am happy that so many people who are connected to the Bronx, either because they live here or work here, took a few minutes out of their busy schedule to make their voices heard on the important issues that face our borough,” Diaz said, adding that he will use the information to help guide policy for years to come.

Jump below for the full post.

Bronxites who answered the survey said that the three areas that need the most improvement in the Bronx are education, economic development and public safety/crime. The survey also found that a majority of those who filled out the survey, 64.8 percent, have either a positive or confident outlook on life. 

However, the survey found a number of issues that split Bronxites. For example, when asked how one would rate their own neighborhood’s appearance and cleanliness, 7.6 percent said excellent, 34.3 percent said good, 36.5 percent said fair, and 21.6 percent answered with poor. 

Compare that to responses from only Community Board 8, which encompasses the well-to-do neighborhoods of Fieldston and Riverdale, and the numbers jump dramatically. In Board 8, 25.7 percent polled said Riverdale was in excellent condition, while only 8.6 percent said their neighborhood’s appearance was poor. Additionally, 48.6 percent said good, and 17.1 percent responded with fair. 

Other responses show a range of opinions throughout the borough. When asked which direction the quality of life was moving in the Bronx, less than 40 percent of those polled said it was moving in the right direction, but 26.8 percent said it was the wrong direction. Just over 33 percent were undecided. 

However, Bronxites who don’t live in the northwest are much more likely to have lived in the borough for longer. In Board 8, 57.1 percent of those polled have lived in the Bronx for more than 20 years, less than the Bronx-wide number of 64.9 percent. 

Bronxites are more likely to rent than to own their own home, the survey found. About 65 percent of those polled say they rent their home or apartment. 

Another large gap the survey found was in marital status. Just over 60 percent of those polled are single. That’s not exactly good news for the college crowd however, as the majority of people—83.5 percent—who took the survey are over 31 years old. 

Just over 44 percent of those polled work in the Bronx, while nearly 30 percent say they couldn’t answer, which may mean they are retired, a full-time student or unable to work. 26 percent said they do not work in the borough. 

Community Board 11, which covers the neighborhoods of Morris Park, Pelham Parkway, Pelham Gardens, Allerton, Bronxdale, Laconia and Van Nest saw the highest participation of any single community board, 11.6 percent.

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