By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
The complete results of the Hempstead County community survey compiled by the Arkansas Economic Development Institute (AEDI) were released Friday afternoon in a massive 92-page document, along with a few words of caution from one of its principals.
“I do want everyone to understand that as we said in the meeting, this is a very small, under represented sample of the community. The major outcome from this survey for us is that we need to recruit more people that represent the county’s demographics to be involved in the upcoming planning process. We are encouraged and excited about working in Hope as we begin the planning process,” AEDI’s April Campbell said in a statement Friday.
During last Tuesday’s community meeting on the survey results, the session took an unexpected turn as considerable concern was expressed about participation — or lack thereof — from the community at large, and that certain well-known demographics in the community were vastly under-represented or barely at all.
Although over 1,000 surveys were taken, only 698 of them were completed, and therefore, included as valid in AEDI’s analysis, both the summary presented Tuesday, and the larger 92-page report released Friday.
AEDI’s Mike Gerfen noted Tuesday that 77-percent of the survey respondents were above the age of 35; 76-percent of the survey were white, and 30-percent of the responses were from people making $100,000 or more.
“As you may well know, the percentage of population in the City of Hope is 35-percent white, 43-percent African American and 21-percent Hispanic. You are a majority-minority populated community, and yet, 76-percent of those who participated were white,” he said.
The 92-page report released Friday, which is available for viewing on SWARK Today at the end of this story, start with 33 pages of graphical results, then 18 pages of text comprised of responses to “What do you see as the biggest obstacles to business development in Hempstead County?”
The report then continues with 6 more pages of graphics before ending with another 33 pages of text comprised of responses to “What do you think are the most important problems facing Hempstead County?” and “What do you think are the strengths of Hempstead County?”