Ashley Kirzinger

The 2015 Sangamon County Citizen Survey indicates residents are generally in good health, with access to health care.  96% report having health insurance.  That's up about 7% from the last survey in 2013 and is a potential result of the federal health care law.

Fewer residents also say they are pessimistic about their personal finances, from 21% in 2013 to 13% now.

Education in the county, both public and private, got good marks.  More also say the county has strong leadership.

So why do the overall numbers show fewer positive ratings for life in Sangamon County?

Local employers seem to be optimistic about the Sangamon County economy in the year ahead.

The twice yearly survey gives researchers a read on what local leaders think about the economy. 

Ashley Kirzinger with the U of I Springfield's Survey Research Office says the latest report shows a big jump in the expectations of local employers and a 36 point increase in  the overall economic outlook from four years ago.

Hannah Meisel/WUIS

This story first ran in the October 2014 edition of Illinois Issues magazine.

What do Sangamon County employers see in the year ahead?  The fall economic outlook survey shows they have a positive outlook about their individual business and sector, but not about the overall economy.  As for jobs, nearly half expect employment rates to stay stagnant.  

While most say the county is a good place to live, work and raise kids, it's not all a rosy picture.  It found crime is a concern, most want better roads and additional events like outdoor festivals and farmer's markets.  But overall, the reviews were positive. 

Dr. Ashley Kirzinger is Director of the University of Illinois Springfield Survey Research Office which called and asked residents more than 100 quality of life questions.  She says it was surprising to find younger people have a brighter outlook for Sangamon County.

The survey of employers find many have positive expectations for their own firms, but have a negative overall outlook for the coming year.  Ashley Kirzinger, Director of the UIS Survey Research Office, spoke with us about the findings:

The survey is sponsored by the University of Illinois Springfield's Chancellor's Office, the Center for State Policy and Research at UIS and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.