San Bernardino County is a good place to live, according to the majority of county residents (including those who live in Fontana) who responded to a recent survey.
Residents’ evaluations of the county’s economy and personal finances have improved from previous years, and people still have trust in their local elected officials (although confidence is down). Commute time is improving, but crime continues to be a worry.
Those were some of the findings in the 2018 Inland Empire Annual Survey, a telephone survey of 1,052 residents randomly selected within San Bernardino County and conducted by the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis at Cal State San Bernardino.
The institute analyzes public opinion in San Bernardino County relative to the economy, crime, ratings of the county as a place to live, private and public services, commuting, and confidence in elected officials, said institute director Barbara Sirotnik, a professor of statistics, business analytics, and supply chain management at Cal State San Bernardino.
The following are some of the highlights of the survey as they relate to various community issues:
----- ECONOMIC EVALUATIONS:
The number of residents who rated the county’s economy as “excellent” or “good” increased again this year. There continues to be an improvement in the number of respondents reporting that they are better off financially than they were a year ago (especially among high-income people, males, and Republicans). Renters are more optimistic than homeowners are about the future, and Hispanics have a higher likelihood than non-Hispanics to think they will be “better off” financially in the coming year. Young people feel optimism about their financial future in greater numbers than older people.
----- CRIME … REALITY AND PERCEPTIONS:
Fear of crime has been on an upward trend since 2011. Fear is highest in Highland, Rialto, San Bernardino, and Yucaipa. Females are more fearful than males, and young people are slightly more fearful than older people.
----- OVERALL RATINGS OF THE COUNTY AS A PLACE TO LIVE:
Ratings of San Bernardino County as a “very good” or “fairly good” place to live remain relatively high, although they have decreased this year, with some differences based on demographics.
Democrats gave higher ratings of life in the county than Republicans or Independents. Senior citizens rated the county higher than young people, and homeowners rated life in the county more highly than renters.
Ratings also differed significantly by city of residence. Among Fontana residents who responded to the survey, 63.9 percent said the county was a "very good" or "fairly good" place to live. The highest positive rating among cities was Chino (86.2 percent) and the lowest was San Bernardino (39.1 percent).
Residents continued to cite “good area/ location/ scenery” as the most positive aspect of living in the county, and “crime/ gang activity/ drugs” as the most negative. Air quality has virtually dropped off the charts as a major negative of life in the county, and concerns about poverty and homelessness have increased.
----- EVALUATIONS OF SELECTED PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SERVICES:
Libraries were rated the highest among all evaluated services, followed by ratings of police/sheriff, shopping, and parks and recreation. Street/road maintenance was rated lowest on the list of services, as has been the case in the past.
Since 1997, a majority of respondents have reported that their commute time is less than one hour. The percentage of people with those “short” commutes is slowly increasing. Median commute time decreased for the second year in a row (good news since long commutes take a huge financial and non-monetary toll). Most respondents report that they work in San Bernardino County, with Los Angeles County being the next destination of choice.
----- CONFIDENCE IN ELECTED OFFICIALS:
Confidence in elected officials is down this year. A majority of respondents still report having a “great deal” or “some” confidence in their local elected officials, but San Bernardino County figures remain below national figures from the Gallup organization. There is a strong relationship between confidence and variables for ratings of the county as a place to live, ratings of the economy, and fear of crime.