As we continue the Master Plan process, I took a look at the 2013 Master Plan Survey. Almost three years have passed and I found a somewhat different perspective in my views of the data collected. I was particularly interested in why people live here as it has a direct impact on how we market the town.
Of note is that 99.5 % of the respondents were property owners in Moultonboro and 53% were year round residents. 44% lived here 21 or more years and 42% were retired.
A total of about 600 or so surveys were completed, smaller than hoped for, but a decent response rate. Keep in mind that the survey is just one source of information used for the Master Plan creation and should not be interpreted as the " final" word. It does point in certain directions though.
Why do you choose to live here? Of the 579 people who answered this question, as "Important" or "Very Important," here are the percentages ( high to low) of the 11 choices:
- 88% proximity to recreation areas
- 85% low crime rate
- 83% chose rural lifestyle
- 81% low taxes
- 77% rural character
- 56% environmental quality laws
- 49% land use laws/ code enforcement
- 27% access to urban areas
- 27% family ties
- 24% reasonable commute
- 22% school system
It would seem then that other than low taxes, the major reasons people live here are more closely related to lifestyle than jobs or schools.
Consider though that in response to the question of whether you have school age children living in your household, only 54 of the 554 who answered this question positively, about 10%. Stretching statistics just a bit, based upon a total population of about 4,400 assuming 10% have school age children at home, could mean that there are about 440 families in town with school age children. It would follow then that the school system may not be the main driver of why people live/move here, because many do not have school age children. Of those that do, the schools could be the main driver. Zillow provides ratings of schools and districts and they rated Moultonboro Academy 9 out of a possible 10 and the Central School at 7 out of 10, both very high marks.
54% of respondents work...somewhere. Of the 564 who answered the question : How many people in your household are employed, self employed, retired, unemployed, disabled or other?
93% had someone who was employed or self employed and 60% had someone who was retired. Of those 93% employed, 34% are self employed, so maybe commuting is not a priority as they either work from home or own a business.
I suspect that more survey instruments and methods will be used should we embark on a marketing plan. The basic question that has been out there for a number of years though is what do we want to be? We are losing more residents than are being born or moving in. We may have an older and aging demographic, but we still have a sizable under 50 population and around 500 or children in the school system.
Marketing may be more about competition with other towns for a smaller and smaller piece of the pie. Based upon the survey and focus groups, most people do not want too much in the Town to change, but we are changing nonetheless. Better to be proactive then bury our head in the sand.