How would you rate your quality of life in your local community? How well do you think Vermont state elected officials understand challenges facing rural Vermonters? Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of your community?
The 2019 Rural Life Survey from VPR and Vermont PBS asked hundreds of Vermonters these questions and more. Scroll down to find out how your neighbors feel about their experiences in the Green Mountain State, and then explore more from the This Land project collaboration.
The Poll Results At-A-Glance
Generally speaking, how would you rate the overall quality of life for you in your local community?
32% Excellent46% Good16% Only Fair5% Poor0% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
The full survey has a sampling error of 3.5%; this varies with the total respondents. See the Appendix below for the details on the sample and methods.
In your view, what is the most important thing that could be done to improve your local community?
7% Economy — generally11% Economy — taxes3% Economy — retail5% Economy — jobs1% Economy — pay/wages1% Environment7% Housing13% Community1% Community — race and diversity5% Politics/government10% Roads/infrastructure4% Schools/education1% Access to tech3% Health and health care8% Drugs1% Crime4% Everything is good1% Everything is bad1% Other13% No opinion801 Total Respondents
Which comes closer to your views, even if neither is exactly right: 1. My local community is a place where people tend to share the same values, OR 2. There are a lot of different values in my local community.
38% Shared values55% Different values7% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
Which comes closer to your views, even if neither is exactly right: 1. My local community is a place where people tend to share the same political views, OR 2. There are a lot of different political views in my local community.
27% Shared views62% Different views11% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
Thinking about relatives and friends living nearby who you can rely on for help or support, do you have a lot of people you can rely on, a fair amount, just a few, or no people living nearby who you can rely on?
27% A lot of people27% A fair amount38% Just a few7% No people1% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
How often do you feel isolated from others?
5% Always11% Often23% Sometimes30% Rarely29% Never2% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
Which of the following things, if any, have you, personally, done in the past year? How about…
…volunteered your time to a charitable cause in your local community?
53% Yes, have done46% No, have not done2% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
If yes, have done: Was that a religious organization, another charitable cause, or both?
7% Religious organization67% Another charitable cause (not religious)22% Both religious and non-religious organizations4% Don’t know/Refused445 Total Respondents
…volunteered your time to a local political party or campaign?
9% Yes, have done90% No, have not done1% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
…attended a political meeting on local, town or school affairs in your local community?
34% Yes, have done65% No, have not done1% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
…attended a community meeting, such as a school board or city council meeting in your local community?
32% Yes, have done67% No, have not done0% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
Are you currently a member of any of the following organizations or groups, or not?
Was there any time in the past few years when you needed health care but did not get it, or did you get health care every time you needed it in the past few years?
11% Needed health care but did not get it86% Got health care every time3% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
Please tell me whether or not any of the following were reasons you could not get the health care you needed:
Are you currently employed full time, part time, or not currently employed?
50% Employed full time16% Employed part time35% Not currently employed801 Total Respondents
If not currently employed: Are you retired, a homemaker, a student, or temporarily unemployed?
59% Retired9% Homemaker9% Student10% Temporarily unemployed13% Other287 Total Respondents
Do you have any school-age children under age 18 living in your household, or not?
25% Yes75% No801 Total Respondents
Are you a parent of a child under 5 years old, or not?
8% Yes92% No801 Total Respondents
Suppose you had an unexpected expense, and the amount came to $1,000. Based on your current financial situation, would you have a problem paying off the full amount of that expense right away, or not?
40% Would have a problem paying the full amount right away57% Would not have a problem3% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
Within the past few years, have you or anyone in your family ever had a problem paying for…
Thinking now about the time it takes to travel somewhere or the distance to certain places, is it a problem for you to get to your job?
4% Major problem4% Minor problem92% Not a problem514 Total Respondents
Thinking now about the time it takes to travel somewhere or the distance to certain places, is it a problem for you to get to…
Thinking now about the time it takes to travel somewhere or the distance to certain places, is it a problem for you to get to your child’s school?
4% Major problem3% Minor problem93% Not a problem181 Total Respondents
How safe, if at all, would you say your local community is from crime?
50% Very safe41% Somewhat safe5% Not too safe4% Not at all safe1% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
How important is it to have a car or other vehicle in order to get through your day-to-day life or do the things you need to do?
82% Very important10% Somewhat important4% Not very important3% Not at all important1% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
Is access to high-speed internet a problem for you or your family, or not?
6% Major problem14% Minor problem79% Not a problem1% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
Do you ever use the internet to do your job or other business-related activities, or not?
63% Yes36% No1% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
In general, which is more important to you: keeping property taxes as low as possible, OR keeping the public schools in your community?
33% Property taxes43% Public schools19% Equally important5% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
How important do you think the dairy industry is to Vermont’s sense of itself?
72% Very important21% Somewhat important3% Not too important2% Not important at all2% Not sure/Refused801 Total Respondents
How important is it to provide more child care options in your community?
46% Very important30% Somewhat important7% Not too important5% Not important at all11% Not sure/Not familiar with the issue0% Refused801 Total Respondents
How well do you think most Vermont state elected officials understand the challenges facing rural Vermonters?
13% Very well45% Somewhat well20% Very little14% Not at all8% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
Thinking about the future of your community, are you very optimistic, somewhat optimistic, somewhat pessimistic, or very pessimistic?
19% Very optimistic 47% Somewhat optimistic6% Neither optimistic nor pessimistic18% Somewhat pessimistic7% Very pessimistic2% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
If you were to advise an 18-year-old considering where to build a successful life and career, would you recommend that he or she stay in Vermont or leave Vermont?
35% Stay in Vermont49% Leave Vermont16% Not sure/It depends0% Refused801 Total Respondents
Given all of your regular expenses, how often are you able to put aside savings for emergencies?
27% Every pay period30% Occasionally18% A little each year21% Never3% Don’t know/Refused801 Total Respondents
What is the primary factor that keeps you in Vermont?
14% Job/Career/Education41% Family14% Environment/Bucolic beauty/Outdoors/Open space/Seasonal activities/Weather5% House/Property ownership5% Lack of other options9% Culture/Sense of community/Coolness factor0% Winter sports/activities 0% Proximity to other places8% Other2% Nothing/Trying to leave1% Not sure0% Refused to answer801 Total Respondents
Full Results, Method, Sampling Error & Survey
Download the Poll Data, Methodology, Sampling Error, Weighted Data & Survey Instrument
- Full Results XLS: by region (1st tab), by gender/age/education (2nd tab), by kids/density/employment (3rd tab), and by politics (4th tab)
- Appendix A: Methodology
- Table 1: Sampling Error
- Table 2: Representativeness of weighted data
- Appendix B: Survey Instrument
Attribution & Credit
You are free to use and share this poll data provided you:
- Maintain the integrity of the data and results
- Provide credit/attribution to the “Vermont Rural Life Survey” everywhere the data is used, e.g. broadcast, web, social media
- Link directly to this page, when possible, e.g. on web and social media.
The Rural Life Survey is a collaboration between Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS and was made possible by our supporters and by AARP Vermont and the Vermont Community Foundation. The poll was conducted by Braun Research under the direction of Dr. Richard Clark.