MONMOUTH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – New Jersey residents are overall satisfied with their quality of life, according to a new poll released by Monmouth University.

The polling center devised its own Garden State Quality of Life Index to measure the happiness of residents.

“It continues to ride high after Hurricane Sandy. Using our own index scale, we find that the score is at a +29 out of a range from -100 to +100. That’s down just slightly from the +30 that we had back in December,” Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray told WCBS 880.

Murray noted that this was the third highest score in the more than two years that Monmouth has been measuring the quality of life index.

WEB EXTRAFull Poll Findings (pdf)

“It’s not bricks and mortar that make a quality of life, it’s the community and the ability to pull together as well as all the other things that make New Jersey a great place to live. Hurricane Sandy just seems to have brought out the best in people,” Murray told WCBS 880.

The index is based on five separate poll questions: overall opinion of the state as a place to live – which contributes half the index score – and ratings of one’s hometown, the performance of local schools, the quality of the local environment and feelings of safety in one’s own neighborhood, according to the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

“Right now, 68 percent of New Jerseyans say that their state is an excellent or good place to live, that’s just a few points off the 72 percent high that we recorded back in December,” said Murray. “There’s no question that since the storm hit the state that people feel that the state has pulled together and that’s reflected in their perceptions in the quality of living here.”

The Garden State Quality of Life Index was created to offer a resident-based indicator of the quality of life in New Jersey.

The poll was conducted by telephone with 803 New Jersey residents from February 6 to February 10, 2013. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

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