Cape Co. ranks third for quality of life

Saturday, April 21, 2007

High average incomes and plenty of doctors make Cape Girardeau County one of the most livable rural counties in Missouri, a Southeast Missouri State University economics professor said Friday.

Among the 81 counties studied, Cape Girardeau County ranked third in the state, said professor Dr. Bruce Domazlicky. Camden County ranked first in the state.

Cape Girardeau County ranked first in per-capita personal income at $28,480 and third in the ratio of the population to the number of doctors, Domazlicky said. Cape Girardeau County has one doctor for every 256 people.

"Cape Girardeau's crime rate brought it down; otherwise it would have ranked No. 1," he said.

Cape Girardeau County had a high crime rate, ranking it 74th in that category, he said. Only seven counties had worse crime rates.

He rated the counties as part of a research project. Domazlicky, who directs the Center for Economic and Business Research, disclosed his findings at the eighth annual economics conference at Southeast.

About 40 economic development officials and students attended the morning conference at Dempster Hall's Glenn Auditorium. Five economic and finance department faculty members and a student reported on their research studies ranging from the economic cost of high school dropouts to the quality of life issue.

Perry County ranked fourth and Ste. Genevieve ranked eighth among rural counties in quality of life, Domazlicky said. Scott County ranked 46th.

Nine other Southeast Missouri counties ranked among the least livable rural counties in the state, Domazlicky said.

None of the nine counties ranked better than 70th. Three of them ranked among the worst four counties in the state. New Madrid County rated last, followed by Mississippi County. Pemiscot County finished 78th by Domazlicky's analysis.

Domazlicky looked at seven factors in assessing quality of life in Missouri's rural counties: per-capita personal income, poverty rate, unemployment rate, job growth from 1994 to 2004, population growth, crime rate and the population per physician.

Perry County had relatively good marks overall, but Domazlicky said the county suffered from little population growth and having few doctors.

Ste. Genevieve County did well except for slow job growth, he said.

Scott County ranked 11th in population per physician, but suffered overall in the rankings from relatively high poverty, unemployment and crime rates.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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