Over two million people live in the mostly rural counties of northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Despite the many differences found throughout hundreds of rural communities, they all share similar climates, economies, cultures, and histories. Additionally, they are all dealing with the challenges of social and economic changes and ecological transformation.
To help better understand what life is like for those who live in these northern, rural communities, the Northwoods Community Survey was designed to capture the critical elements of quality of life and well-being for these residents. This information can help shape policies, regulations, public information efforts, and business decisions related to a number of domains of quality of life.
The Northwoods Community Survey focuses on how members of rural communities in the north woods evaluate the assets, amenities, and services found in and around their community. The survey also aims to understand quality of life and personal well-being of members of these communities. The ultimate goal of the survey is to increase access to valuable information about the quality of life in rural northern communities of the north woods.
The Northwoods Community Survey is being sent to fifty-five communities across the north woods region.
Crystal Falls, MI
Eagle River, WI
Grand Marais, MN
Grand Rapids, MN
International Falls, MN
Iron Mountain, MI
Iron River, MI
Moose Lake, MN
Mountain Iron, MN
Park Falls, WI
Rice Lake, WI
Shell Lake, WI
Silver Bay, MN
Two Harbors, MN
The NWQoL database is funded in part by the Otto Bremer Trust.
Results from this survey will be used to supplement existing data in Northwoods Quality of Life (NWQoL) database, which includes numerous metrics collected and/or coalesced from various sources by the CRC. Survey data will be utilized to inform local quality of life indexes for on-line data visualizations and individual community reports. Data will also be used to produce research reports and journal articles related to social indicators efforts and rural community development.
This information will be useful to local residents, leaders, and decision-makers about how members of their community evaluate and assess the assets, amenities, and services within the community and how residents are doing in terms of quality of life and personal well-being. Currently, there is no existing dataset that captures quality of life and personal well-being of residents in rural communities of the north woods. The results of this study will benefit people living in the region and beyond by providing access to up-to-date information on what makes rural communities good places to live, work and play, while also uncovering innovative solutions to challenges confronting rural communities. Most importantly, this information can help shape policies, regulations, public information efforts, and business decisions related to a number of domains of quality of life.
Respondents to the survey will have the opportunity to reflect on what they value about their community. The results will give participants a comprehensive catalog of quality of life metrics in communities across the north woods region. Additionally, the results will inform community and regional leaders and policy makers with respect to the quality of life in north woods communities.
The study population includes all households in one of fifty-five communities in northern Wisconsin, northern Minnesota, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. All households within municipal boundaries of the one of the fifty-five communities are eligible for inclusion in the sample. Households that were selected were done so randomly.
A stratified, random sample of households within the municipal boundaries of all 55 communities was drawn by a market research company. Respondent households were randomly chosen from the population within each community.
Completed surveys will be entered into a drawing for one of twenty $50 Visa gift cards, one of five $100 Visa gift cards, or one $500 Visa gift card. There will be a total of twenty-six gift cards sent to randomly selected households that returned the survey questionnaire. The gift cards will be mailed to the winners of the drawing by the completion of the data collection, but no later than November 15, 2019.
Yes. The data collected will be kept separate from all identifying information contained in the sampling frame (mailing list) purchased from an external market research company. The names and addresses will not be attached to survey answers; rather, each survey is labeled with a unique ID number. All responses are kept confidential and secure. All research personnel are trained in protecting confidentiality and data handling techniques.
Yes. Participation in the survey is self-administered in a home environment, and is completely voluntary. Participants may refuse to participate, stop participation at any time, or skip questions. By voluntarily completing the survey and returning it in the included business reply envelope, participants are consenting to participate.
The survey will take approximately 15 minutes.