Text Box: Section IX: Vital Statistics         

The demographics of survey participants provide a crucially important backdrop in terms of understanding the survey’s message and applicability to area problems, issues and their resolution.  At appropriate points identified throughout this analysis, partial survey data have been provided which permit determination of how a particular group or subset of survey participants feels about a particular issue.  For example, the method of appointment of Bigfork Land Use Advisory members is logically more important to Flathead County residents than to residents of Lake County.  Thus, when this subject was addressed earlier in this analysis, both data sets were presented.  

Other demographic issues are important as well.  A past Bigfork area survey (1993) only recorded the views of property owners despite the fact that in Montana (and other states as well) voters, be they property owners or not, have full sway over planning and zoning issues.  This survey was sent to area land owners and registered voters though when this resulted in duplication, an individual received only one survey.  Similarly, when different people in the same household qualified for being part of the survey population, only one survey was sent to that household—survey administrative costs being the driving element in the decision to truncate distribution in this manner.

Thus, the results are not necessarily a perfect mirror of what the people of the Bigfork area think on all issues addressed in the survey, but then again, even an unconstrained democratic process fails in this regard.  Nonetheless, when viewed together, these data do offer decision-makers an important community window as they attempt to deal with the many complex issues that we currently face and are doubtless in our future.   

As depicted in Figure IX-1, twenty-eight percent (28%) of completed surveys were from Lake County residents—the majority of these being from School District 38J with seventy percent (70%) being from Flathead County.  As Lake County residents only received twenty-five percent (25%) of the surveys mailed out to eligible households, this means that Lake County residents responded at a slightly higher rate (28%) than did those from Flathead County (25%).  Areas A& B, generally consisting of core Bigfork, were represented by thirty-nine percent (39%) of the surveys collected.  Data is not available on how this compares to the number of surveys sent to those in Areas A or B.