With a still-shaky economy, widespread political division, and lingering unemployment issues, the question of how Americans feel about the places they live, and whether or not things are getting better, is a pretty loaded one.
The most recent Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll asked Americans to assess how they feel about the cities and towns that they call home. The poll culled the responses of 1,000 people and found that about two-thirds of respondents said that they felt like their little corners of the world are, in fact, improving.
Class and income seemed to have some bearing on how positively—or negatively—people felt about local conditions, with 78 percent of respondents from households that made more than $100,000 saying they felt good about the direction of their local community. Only 55 percent of those from households that made less than $30,000 felt similarly. Being employed helped too, with 69 percent of those who had full-time jobs agreeing that things were looking up. Those who were working full-time were also much more likely to give local leaders their approval than those who were unemployed.
By and large, people were negative about the state of their local economies, with fewer than 10 percent of respondents rating the economy in their community as "excellent." When it came to rating these economies in binary terms, people were still more negative than positive, with 57 percent of those surveyed saying that their local economy was fair or poor, instead of good or excellent.
For those who fell into lower economic groups, almost 80 percent said that their local economy was in poor shape. For the highest economic groups? Fewer than 40 percent of respondents thought that the economy deserved failing marks. Lesley Whitecoff, a resident of Annapolis, Maryland, says that in general she thinks that her city is doing fairly well economically, but she also understands that residents likely feel very differently depending on their economic status. “Annapolis is a very interesting city. We have the haves and the have-nots and we don’t have a large middle section. I think the economy is doing well for the haves, from what I perceive. For the have-nots, I don’t think it’s very prosperous for them,” she said in an interview.