LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – People who love living in the township often say they most enjoy its parks, its convenient location, and their friendly neighbors. The results of a nationwide study released Monday (Nov. 24, 2008) indicate those very qualities – the ones that make residents love a place – also help that place grow and succeed.
The “Soul of the Community” study conducted by Gallup found that, over a five-year period, communities where people felt “highly engaged” also experienced economic growth as measured by their gross domestic product, the value of the goods and services produced and sold within the community.
Gallup reseachers talked by phone with 14,000 people in 26 cities, including Philadelphia and State College in Pennsylvania, between February and April this year. Responses to their interview questions indicated community residents who form an emotional connection to the place they live talk about it more positively with other people. Their level of engagement seems to correlate, Gallup says, with how well a community is doing economically … or not.
The study, funded by the Knight Foundation, found it generally takes three to six years for residents to feel highly engaged in communities where they live. It also found that communities which do more to engage residents shortly after they’ve moved in improve the chances of having them feel engaged more quickly. The results are similar to those of an earlier Gallup study that showed companies’ financial performance improved when they worked to boost their employees’ emotional connection to their firms.