New England Survey of Environmental Horticulture 2000

Survey Database Numbers


After the database was compiled, LACS (Locatable Address Change System) and NCOA (National Change of Address) USPS sorts were performed to respectively find addresses which had changed due to mandated 911 emergency based renumbering, and firms changing addresses. This left 14, 010 firms, not counting non-profits, public agencies and related such as cemetery or park maintenance.

These 14,010 firms broke out by states as CT (3001), MA (6404), ME (1672), NH (1309), RI (807) and VT (817). State lists were sorted alphabetically, then every other firm picked for surveying, or half the total. The ones not picked were then sent to state extension specialists in each state to determine which firms might be over $1million in value and should be included (since income is not evenly distributed across the total population). Firm members of state and regional industry boards were included as well in the mail-to list.

In the meantime a postcard (see) was mailed to all 14,010 firms believed to be actively involved in the green industry to 1) verify through local post offices correct addresses, and 2) to alert them that they may be receiving a survey (since we mailed to all, and would only be surveying about half). This resulted in a final total number of 12,412. When the remaining ones picked for not receiving a survey were subtracted (this group was no longer half, as some had been added back in depending on the state), this left a total of 6528 which received the first survey.

Table 1. First survey mailing numbers, by state.

State

Original number of firms

First

Mailing

Percent of state total surveyed

State Percent of Region Total Surveyed

Returned (%)

Usable

(% of returned)

CT

2624

1364

52%

20.9%

134 (9.8%)

73 (54%)

ME

1486

776

52%

11.9%

160 (20.6%)

96 (60%)

MA

5675

2920

51%

44.7%

359 (12.3%)

235 (65%)

NH

1180

688

58%

10.6%

107 (15.6%)

74 (69%)

RI

729

400

55%

06.1%

36 (9.0%)

24 (67%)

VT

718

380

53%

05.8%

89 (23.4%)

54(61%)

             

Total

12,412

6528

53%

100%

885 (14%)

556 (63%)

From the first mailing (Table 1), highest return was from VT (23.4%) and lowest from CT (9.8%), with an average 14% return rate. Of those returned, those able to be used for data were a similar percentage among states, with an average of about 2/3 or 63%. This means 37% or an estimated 2415 from those mailed to either were not part of the green industry (less than 50% gross income), bad addresses, out of business or other. This is after the initial card mailing to correct bad addresses and the prior LAX and NCOA USPS sorts. This leaves an estimated 4113 valid businesses on the first mailing list.

 

Table 2. Second survey mailing numbers, and finals, by state.

State

Second

Mailing

Returned (%)

Usable

(% of returned)

CT

1230

115 (9.3%)

74 (64.3%)

ME

616

104 (16.9%)

52 (50.0%)

MA

2561

278 (10.9%)

175 (62.9%)

NH

581

88 (15.1%)

47 (53.4%)

RI

364

41 (11.3%)

33 (80.5%)

VT

291

64 (22.0%)

34 (53%)

       

Total

5643

690 (12.2%)

415 (60.1%)

The second mailing (Table 2) had a very good return of 78% of that of the first mailing, compared to a normal average of about 50% for such surveys. Percent returns for each state were similar to the first mailing, and in similar ranking with Vermont having the highest return rate (22%) and Connecticut the lowest (9.3%). There were about the same number of bad addresses or firms not a significant part of the green industry (40%) as in the first mailing.

 

Table 3. Total industry firms, and returns from both mailings.

State

Total Returned (%)

Total Usable

(% of returned, or % usable)

Total firms (% of region)

CT

249 (18.3%)

147 (59.0%)

1549 (20%)

ME

264 (34.0%)

148 (56.1%)

834 (11%)

MA

637 (21.8%)

410 (64.4%)

3655 (47%)

NH

195 (28.3%)

121 (62.1%)

733 (10%)

RI

77 (19.3%)

57 (74.0%)

540 (7%)

VT

153 (40.3%)

88 (57.5%)

413 (5%)

       

Total

1575 (24.1%)

971 (61.7%)

7724 (100%)

When both mailings are combined, states ranked similar in return rates as in each mailing. Highest rates were for Vermont (40.3%) and Maine (34.0%), and lowest return rates were for Connecticut (18.3%) and Rhode Island (19.3%). Overall about 1/4 of firms surveyed (1575 or 24.1%) returned their forms between the two mailings.

Taking the original number of firms believed part of the green industry (Table 1), and multiplying each state number by the percent unusable for each state (either not part of the green industry, bad addresses, out of business or other), gave the number of firms not part of the industry. Subtracting these from the original numbers, gave the estimated total number of firms for each state. Individual state figures show Massachusetts to have the most (47%) or almost half the businesses in New England, and over double that of the second state (Connecticut with 20% of businesses). Vermont had the fewest (413) or only about 5% of the region's firms. When state figures are combined, the New England Green Industry has an estimated 7724 firms that have over 50% of their income from this industry.


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