CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Compared to the rest of the nation, Wyoming residents enjoy a high quality of life and are more optimistic about the future and what growth could bring to the state and the region, according to a new statewide survey released today by the Building the Wyoming We Want
“Wyoming people care deeply about their families, their small, friendly communities and about the health of the land and the water,” said Dee Allsop, a nationally-recognized polling expert whose company conducted the study for the Building the Wyoming We Want initiative.
The survey findings will be discussed in depth at tomorrow’s Building the Wyoming We Want: Values and Vision Conference in Casper.
“The quality of life indicator that appeared most prominently is that Wyoming people love the outdoors and the healthy lifestyle that they enjoy as a result of the state’s spectacular geography and
unparalleled recreation opportunities,” Allsop said.
Allsop’s company, Heart and Mind Strategies, conducted the study over several weeks this spring, and spoke with nearly 1,000 people across the state in telephone interviews, face-to-face online interviews and online polling.
The survey results, which indicated a strongly positive outlook toward the future with measured optimism about growth, were not uniform across Wyoming.
Most residents believe that while the future looks bright for Wyoming overall, their local economies are currently neither “strong” nor “weak,” but they appear to be getting worse. Responses varied by
county, with residents of Carbon, Sweetwater, Lincoln, Sublette, Uinta, Johnson, and Sheridan Counties all viewing their local economies as getting worse. These residents also viewed themselves as being the most impacted by boom/bust cycles.
Other findings focused on perceptions of growth and future change in Wyoming. While many residents believe many of the challenges and problems their communities face are caused by growth, they soundly
believe growth can bring significant benefits to Wyoming and should be “encouraged and fostered.”
Most respondents also said that they believe “people like you and me” (rather than government) are best able to insure that growth has a positive impact.
“These findings give us great insight into what we’re trying to accomplish with Building the Wyoming We Want,” said Terry Cleveland, who heads the initiative’s advisory committee. “Clearly people in
Wyoming feel that in order to maintain their outdoor lifestyle, there is much at stake going forward. Many of us have reservations about the kind of growth we see in other parts of the West but this survey indicates that we’re confident we can do it right. The key is to act now to
protect what we care most about.”
The survey highlighted an interesting dichotomy in Wyoming, Allsop said, in that residents said they value the fact that the state is not crowded and that there aren’t many people in Wyoming. However one of the strongest negative responses centered on the state’s remoteness and its relative lack of entertainment and shopping options and proximity to advanced health care providers and jobs.
“This is a key challenge for the leaders of Wyoming,” Allsop said. “Clearly people love to live here but they acknowledge that there are tradeoffs for all the benefits they enjoy in Wyoming.”