ODU survey finds Hampton Roads residents happy, concerned about economy

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Most Hampton Roads residents are satisfied with their lives, but about two-thirds believe the region’s economy is fair or poor, according to a study by Old Dominion University’s Social Science and Research Center (SSRC).

The study found that 82.6 percents of residents of the Hampton Roads area see themselves as healthy and 84.7 percent are satisfied with their lives. Two-thirds of respondents believed economic conditions in the area were fair or poor, and 86.6 percent believed the same was true about the United States as a whole.

Nearly 700 residents of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth and Suffolk took the telephone survey, which was intended to gauge perceptions and attitudes regarding a variety of local issues. The study was funded by the ODU Office of Research, and will be conducted annually for the next three years to provide the community of ODU faculty access to data to assist in their research.

The survey found that 47.6 percent of residents believe that immigrants (legal or otherwise) will take jobs away from people already in the Hampton Roads, 21.5 percent label global warming “an environmental hoax,” and 41.9 percent believe gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry legally.

Only 6.3 percent of people reported using public transportation in the last week, but 43.9 percent said that they would be more likely to use public transportation once the much-anticipated light rail train becomes available in Norfolk. Another 24.4 percent said they might possibly use the light rail. When asked if they would like to see the light rail extended, respondents gave the following as the top three destinations: Virginia Beach (62.9 percent), Norfolk International Airport (46.9 percent), and Chesapeake (40.4 percent). Only 6.3 percent said they did not want to see the light rail extended.

Almost half of respondents said they’ve avoided visiting a business or neighboring city “within the past month” due to traffic concerns.

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