This report summarizes the results of the Rockingham community and youth surveys conducted as part of the 2018-19 town plan update effort.
During the summer of 2018, 319 adults and 113 youth responded to surveys asking about their level of satisfaction with many aspects of life in Rockingham and their vision for the community’s future. The survey was widely publicized through traditional and social media. It was distributed online and at various public gathering places and events. Despite considerable outreach efforts, those who responded were not a representative sample of the town’s population.
Renters were significantly under-represented in the survey. Renters comprised 45% of the town’s total population in 2016 according to the Census Bureau, but accounted for only 21% of survey respondents. Further, a comparison of the age profile of survey respondents to the age profile of the community as a whole (based on 2016 American Community Survey Data) indicates that young adults were under-represented and middle-age adults were likely over-represented in the survey.
Similarly, new residents of Rockingham were under-represented in the survey. According to the Census Bureau in 2016, 37% of households in town had lived in their current home 5 years or less. Only 15% of adult survey respondents reported living in Rockingham for 5 years or less.
Residents from all areas of town participated. While a large number of survey respondents declined to indicate where in town they lived, the available data suggests that Bellows Falls residents were slightly underrepresented. This corresponds to the higher percentage of renters and young adults living in Bellows Falls and to those groups being underrepresented in the survey.
Other responses also suggest that residents with stronger ties to the community were more likely to have taken the survey. 32% of youth respondents thought they would be living in Rockingham as adults and the majority of adult survey respondents indicated that they intend to stay in Rockingham for many years into the future.