A new survey commissioned by the YMCA suggests that more than 50% of Americans want to move out of their current neighborhood:
The Y Community Snapshot found:
- 58 percent of respondents say they would move away from their community right now if they could, but the economy and their financial situations make moving increasingly difficult and not an option. Unable to move, Americans are putting more responsibility on local governments and themselves to impact change;
- 63 percent of respondents say they will get more involved in their communities this year and will contribute goods, services, facilities or other non-monetary resources to a worthy cause or organization;
- 76 percent of respondents say they are concerned about crime in their community, and according to a recent Gallup poll, nearly half of Americans say there is more crime where they live today than there was a year ago. A safe environment ranked as the most important quality in building a strong community;
- The vast majority of respondents (72 percent) reported that budget cuts by government, social services and non-profit community organizations have had a negative impact on themselves and their families, with 22 percent saying they’ve felt a big negative impact.
The results to the individual questions may make sense: Americans have always been a mobile people (though mobility is down in recent years due to the economic crisis), Americans tend to be worried about crime even when crime rates are down (how likely is it that major crime rates are down and more than 50% of Americans say crime is up in their particular neighborhood?), and people are unlikely to respond favorably to budget cuts that impact them.
But I’m intrigued by how you would put all of these figures together: do Americans think there are a lot of wealthy, low crime, service-rich neighborhoods out there? Is this simply a case of “the grass is greener on the other side” or is everyone truly aiming to reach these fantastic neighborhoods? Even if there are enough neighborhoods that might fit this bill, how many of these great neighborhoods would not throw open their gates but would instead hunker down and restrict access and new development that might change their paradise?
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