Quality of life is a lot like beauty -- it often lies in the eye of the beholder. Even so, it's encouraging news when an overwhelming majority of Baltimore-area residents rate their quality of life as good or excellent, despite concerns about drugs, crime and the quality of area schools. A new survey conducted for the Baltimore Regional Council has found that 78 percent of residents in the metropolitan area rate their community's quality of life as good or excellent. But behind all the statistics are some worrisome trends. Only 39 percent of respondents said their quality of life was better than five years ago, while one-third thought it had declined. In Baltimore city, where drugs and crime were frequently cited as major concerns, 46 percent responded that their quality of life was worse than it was five years ago.
As policy makers ponder those results, they might also consider the fact that despite all the election rhetoric about voters' aversion to taxes, the T-word was far down the list of residents' primary concerns -- behind schools, a low crime rate, access to health care, the availability of good jobs and concern for the environment. Maybe the respondents know something that politicians are trying to forget: You get what you pay for.