WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Residents in the North Country have been found to be not only welcoming but supportive of others.

This is according to a new survey, North Country Current Issues, released by the Center of Community Studies at Jefferson Community College.

To conduct this study, the CCS surveyed 1,457 adult residents across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties and focused on emerging issues in the North Country region.

Interviews for the study included a collection of approximately 35 statements regarding current issues. These questions were categorized into issues focusing on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Community Services, Community Issues, Local Government Roles, Current Economic Situation and Inflation, and Employment.

According to the Center of Community Studies, the main takeaway from the survey was that the majority of North Country residents are welcoming, supportive of others and are interested in improving community-driven programs.

However, as stated in the survey, residents prefer that these needed community services are supported financially by local-level governments and elected officials in a non-bias way.

Regarding diversity issues, 61% of surveyed adults said that the North Country would benefit from more initiatives related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Additionally, 75% said they welcome members of the LGBTQ+ in their community.

However, only 46% believe that racism is a major issue in the North Country that needs to be addressed. An additional 39% disagree that racism is a major issue.

The majority also believe county governments should financially support a homeless shelter in their local communities, as well increase financial support for EMS services.

Additional key takeaways based on participant responses are listed below:

  • 76% welcome immigrants from Ukraine to seek refuge in the North Country
  • 30% agree that law enforcement and other emergency personnel are adequately equipped to effectively respond to mental health emergencies, while 54% disagree
  • 88% agree that assistance programs for teenagers struggling with suicide and other mental health issues should become an increasing priority for local governments and agencies
  • 71% agree that local elected officials should govern independent of their political party affiliation

The full survey can be read below: