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Utahns report that their quality of life has remained stable over the past four years despite an improving economy.

Results published by the nonprofit Utah Foundation also show a remarkable consistency since 2011 in the level of concern residents show for hot-button political and social issues such as air and water quality, public schools, affordable housing and employment.

The Quality of Life Index, published Monday, held steady for 2015 at 76.9 out of a possible 100 points, down slightly from 77.2 in 2011 and 78.2 in 2013, but not enough to be statistically significant.

About 85 percent of survey respondents now rate the area where they live as a "good" or an "excellent" place.

The index — measured twice yearly since 2011 through phone surveys — gauges how Utahns feel about their communities as defined by the area within a 30-minute drive of their homes.

It was based on a poll conducted in late August and early September by marketing-research firm Lighthouse Research of Riverton and Salt Lake City. The survey used landline and cellphone numbers to reach 605 randomly selected Utahns 18 years or older and spread over 23 of the state's 29 counties.

"Utahns seem particularly happy with where they live," Shawn Teigen, research director for Utah Foundation, wrote in the 15-page report on the index, published in collaboration with Intermountain Healthcare.

The index defines quality of life with measures of 20 aspects of life related to health, safety and environment; education; economic vitality; recreation and culture; community and values; and infrastructure such as roads, homes, buildings and public transportation.

Respondents were asked to rank not only their sense of quality in each life aspect, but also its relative importance.

"We as Utahns think everything is important," Teigen said in an interview, "and everything, in general, is pretty good on average."

Three key aspects showed a significant decrease in quality since 2013: safety and security from crime, the ability to live near family and traffic conditions. No aspect of life improved significantly over the past two years.

Numbers also show concerns over the availability of good jobs have held relatively steady since 2011 despite dramatic improvements in the state's employment picture.

"It is unclear," the Utah Foundation study said, "why Utahns did not report an improvement in 2015."

It suggested "one potential culprit" was relative wage stagnation since 2007, even as Utah unemployment has dropped to about 3 percent in the past three years, giving the state one of the lowest levels in the country.

"For families looking to pay off their debt incurred during the Great Recession," the study said, "these wages may not be sufficient."

The index report by Utah Foundation, a Salt Lake City nonpartisan public policy research group, also found interesting differences in the views of rural and urban residents, with respondents living away from the Wasatch Front generally saying they had a higher quality of life than urban counterparts.

Both rural and urban residents with more education tended to say they had a higher quality of life than did those with less education.

Twitter: @TonySemerad