A Look at Regional Trends
By Emily Tipping
Before getting into the individual types of entities, i.e., parks, colleges, health clubs, etc., covered by the survey, let's take some time to look into how the survey results break down according to region.
States are continuing to face extreme challenges in terms of their budgets, according to a March 2011 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
According to the report, state tax receipt saw the steepest decline on record as a result of the recession, with tax collections 11 percent below pre-recession levels. At the same time, state-funded services are still in high demand. "As a result," the report states, "even after making very deep spending cuts over the last several years, states continue to face large budget gaps." That said, the report indicates that trends may be pointing to stabilization of state revenues, predicting that it is possible for state finances to begin to recover, possibly after next year.
While we do not break down survey results according to state, there are differences in terms of how respondents from each region are performing. Some regions have seen sharper decreases to operating budgets than others, while the very type of organization supported from one region to the next seems to differ.
For the most part, the percentage of respondents in each region fell close to the division of the general population determined in the latest Census, which took place in 2010. (The notable exception is the higher response from the Midwest and the much lower response from the South Central region.)
The largest group of respondents (29.1 percent) hailed from the Midwest. This region was followed by the West, with 21.7 percent, the South Atlantic states, with 18.4 percent, the Northeast, with 17.2 percent, and the South Central region, which had 13.3 percent of the responses. (See Figure 28.)