“After months of upward movement in the Garden State Quality of Life Index, we have seen a slight drop that seems to be caused mainly by economic and security concerns,” says Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Murray says economic and safety concerns lead to the dip.

In its regular tracking of residents’ satisfaction with life in New Jersey, the Monmouth University Poll finds that the current Garden State Quality of Life Index has dipped to +27, from +31 in April. While this marks a decrease from the last result, it is still higher than all prior readings going back to December 2011.

“We saw a couple of things dip down,” explains Murray. “One in particular was residents’ feelings of safety and security in their own neighborhood. Right now, 60% give that a very positive rating and that’s down four points from just a few months ago.”

The overall drop in the Garden State Quality of Life Index seems to be concentrated among lower income households in more urban and rural parts of the state. Among those earning less than $50,000, the index stands at +16, down 8 points from April. There has also been a 14 point drop among residents of the Urban Core counties of Essex and Hudson (now +12) and a 10 point drop among the Garden Core counties which include the far southern and northwestern parts of the state (now +18).

The index also shows a decrease among New Jersey men from +33 three months ago to +26 now. The score among state women has been more stable from +28 to +29 now. The index score among older residents also declined. New Jerseyans age 55 and over now score +30 on the index down from +37 in April.

The Quality of Life Index was created by the Monmouth University Polling Institute. It’s 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. The index can potentially range from -100 to +100.