Four-year FS study on life in the Valley released

Fres-no or Fres-yes?

Hundreds of people in the Central Valley were surveyed about the quality of living in the Central Valley by a research lab at Fresno State.

The report, “Quality of Life in the Central San Joaquin Valley: 2002 though 2006,� was released by the Social Research Laboratory in March, and the results show that the quality of life in the Central Valley is better and worse than it was five years ago.

Dr. Edward Nelson, a Fresno State sociology professor and director of the lab, said the results from the 2006 survey were compared with the numbers from previous years to show changes in trends.

“One thing that’s interesting is the area of financial satisfaction,� Nelson said. “It has increased from 27 percent to 38 percent.�

The report showed a recent increase of people moving to the Central Valley, especially from larger areas such as Southern California or the Bay Area. Many move in search of better job opportunities, cheaper living or just a more relaxed lifestyle.

About 800 people were randomly surveyed by phone and asked about financial satisfaction, crime, leadership, public schools and the performance of the government.

Every so often, new questions arise in the survey, and this year people were asked what they thought was the most pressing problem facing their community.

“Twenty percent mentioned traffic, transportation and roads as a problem, and 27 percent said that crime was an issue,� Nelson said.

Angelina Carrasco, a biology and health science major, said she agrees with the results of the report in the areas of crime and financial satisfaction.

The Tulare native said the Central Valley’s financial situation is in good standing but could use some improvement.

“It’s cheap to live here. That’s why I decided to come to school here,� Carrasco said. “There are lots of job opportunities, a lot of stores to work at and rent is cheap.�

She said all of this is good for a college student, but she also said with these types of jobs, employees need to be paid more in order to move up in life.

“If you want to purchase a house and car and have a family, minimum wage needs to be higher,� Carrasco said.

Raquel Lara, a history and Chicano and Latin American Studies major, sees the Central Valley in a different way.

In her hometown of Dinuba, the majority of the available jobs are agricultural — and with the recent freeze, many people have been left unemployed.

Lara also said people may not also be able to get an education because they have to work in order to survive.

“Not everyone has the luxury of going to college,� Lara said. “Once you’re out of high school, you have to start working.�

In regards to the overall quality of life, Lara said drastic improvement is necessary.

“If you don’t come from a stable means of wealth, you’re going to struggle through life,� Lara said.

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