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Perception of Charlotte Nationwide


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Kinda feels like a miserable place today with the cold rain.

But it should be noted the Magazine looked at MSA aka Metropolitan Areas...not city limits. What struck me was their comment that our unemployment rate is up 50% from 10 years ago. That didn't sound right at all until I remembered Pillowtex, and many other manufacturing plants that have closed up shop. Granted Mecklenburg County still fares pretty well....but some communities in our MSA are being severely affected by all of these plant closings. And I could imagine that for someone who used to work in one of those plants and lost their job....for them life certainly is miserable.

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In addition, a 50% increase in unemployment makes it sound really bad, but if the rate was low 10 years ago, say around 3%, then a 50% increase means that the rate now is 4.5%, which is still pretty good. I certainly haven't heard or read anything to indicate that the Charlotte metro area is undergoing a massive unemployment problem.

There's a website with monthly statistics for the Charlotte-Gastonia metro area-

http://www.economagic.com/em-cgi/data.exe/...a/lauMT37167403

That pretty much bears out what I'm saying. Yes, it would be nice if we could stay at 3%, but 4.8% (the statistic for Dec. 2007) is really not bad. Unless you are one of those that are unemployed of course. :(

Our biggest weakness is the crime rate. Seems to be an ongoing problem that we haven't gotten a handle on.

Edit-I'd also like to point out that the 10 year comparison they chose really does hurt us. If they had picked a five year comparison (2003) we would actually be a lot less miserable, since the unemployment rate in 2003 was about 7.0%, meaning we've seen an improvement of about 50% since then.

Edited by elvigy
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I don't put much stock in it given that it is coming from a grocery store rag, Forbes, however this was posted elsewhere on UP. That is that Charlotte is the 9th most miserable place to live in the USA.

http://www.forbes.com/2008/01/29/detroit-s...0miserable.html

I found the article interesting but strange. It seems they used some arbitrary opinions of their own to decide what is miserable and what isn't. I won't argue whether Charlotte is or not - we do plenty of that on here, but New York? LA? If the people dealing with what Forbes feels makes a place miserable don't mind, who has the right to tell them they should be miserable. My friends that have moved to both of those cities absolutely love living there (and I love visiting). Funny how any of these cities, including us, can be listed by one group as a miserable place to live, and by another as a great place.

I know some people who don't like living here for various reasons, but I think i'd be hard pressed to say any of them are in misery!!

Edited by Charlotte_native
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I don't put any stock at all into these Forbes ratings. Granted, we all get excited when they show our favorites cities in a positive light. But, these guys take random statistics which can be spinned positive or negative to their liking..

Save a couple of cities on the list, I really doubt if most of the populace of these places feels 'miserable'; save a couple of places...

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I don't put any stock at all into these Forbes ratings. Granted, we all get excited when they show our favorites cities in a positive light. But, these guys take random statistics which can be spinned positive or negative to their liking..

Save a couple of cities on the list, I really doubt if most of the populace of these places feels 'miserable'; save a couple of places...

I agree the Money Magazine, Forbe Lists, etc. are pretty much worthless. They data that they base these lists on are entirely nebulous and imprecise ways to calculate such broad regional inventories. Most of the cities on the list are like comparing big apples to little oranges. The Observer stated that they used 2005 crime data.....huh?....that makes no sense to use outdated data in a list based on 2007. Furthermore, I live in Charlotte and Ive got to tell you that having a certain number of Superfund sites in my metro area really does not affect my happiness level, what a useless indicator.

And while we are on this subject. Does it seem to you that Forbes and Money Mag have it out for Charlotte? I never see Charlotte on good lists but they do tend to make it on the bad ones quite often. Did Hugh McColl and Forbes get into a board room brawl back in the day? Though, I think Charlotte has a lot to brag about and that is why people keep moving here in droves. We dont need a list to tell us we are great.

Edited by mh10809
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Violent crime in Charlotte really needs to be addressed.

While I see violent crime as an issue in Charlotte as in most big cities. I don't think it is as bad as people think it is. Having lived here for a couple of years I keep hearing from locals about how bad crime is. Well Charlotte is a metro area, yes there is going to be crime. Even though a lot of Charlotte looks and feels like the suburbs, it is still a city. But Ive got to tell you I have really never felt unsafe in Charlotte even in some of the bad areas of town. Ask someone from Detroit, Philly or Atlanta about crime if you think it is so bad here. And according to the statistics violent crime is decreasing in Charlotte so something is being done. While many cities are seeing a spike in violent crime we are one of those that is decreasing in those numbers.

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While I see violent crime as an issue in Charlotte as in most big cities. I don't think it is as bad as people think it is. Having lived here for a couple of years I keep hearing from locals about how bad crime is. Well Charlotte is a metro area, yes there is going to be crime. Even though a lot of Charlotte looks and feels like the suburbs, it is still a city. But Ive got to tell you I have really never felt unsafe in Charlotte even in some of the bad areas of town. Ask someone from Detroit, Philly or Atlanta about crime if you think it is so bad here. And according to the statistics violent crime is decreasing in Charlotte so something is being done. While many cities are seeing a spike in violent crime we are one of those that is decreasing in those numbers.

I agree, to a point. In recent years I've come to realize that a lot of Charlotte's violent crime is simply less visible than in other cities. When you see a low-end apartment complex in Charlotte, it's not likely to seem anywhere near as dangerous as the projects in Chicago or Philly. But that's simply because the suburban style keeps a lot of the drug and gang activity behind closed doors, as opposed to street corners and storefronts. There's a perception that Charlotte's slums are tame, which might even be true in public areas, but for people living there it is just as dangerous as any other ghetto.

But in general, Charlotte is an exceptionally safe city for most residents. Any place will have its concerned locals who feel that the place has been overrun, but people who have lived in larger cities typically scoff at the notion that Charlotte is a "dangerous" city.

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I remember the first time I visited Charlotte, I was shocked by how violent it wasn't. All my life I had heard horror stories painting Charlotte as a blood-soaked warzone. Virtually everyone I knew knew someone else who had been shot and killed there. I could definitely say I felt as safe there as I had in Raleigh, though.

edit--I was shocked at how bad the traffic wasn't, also.

Edited by brokenraven
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I agree the Money Magazine, Forbe Lists, etc. are pretty much worthless. They data that they base these lists on are entirely nebulous and imprecise ways to calculate such broad regional inventories. Most of the cities on the list are like comparing big apples to little oranges. The Observer stated that they used 2005 crime data.....huh?....that makes no sense to use outdated data in a list based on 2007. Furthermore, I live in Charlotte and Ive got to tell you that having a certain number of Superfund sites in my metro area really does not affect my happiness level, what a useless indicator.

And while we are on this subject. Does it seem to you that Forbes and Money Mag have it out for Charlotte? I never see Charlotte on good lists but they do tend to make it on the bad ones quite often. Did Hugh McColl and Forbes get into a board room brawl back in the day? Though, I think Charlotte has a lot to brag about and that is why people keep moving here in droves. We dont need a list to tell us we are great.

Forbes and Money bash Charlotte all the time. I think they are jealous of our banks and our rise from nowhere to somewhere in a generation. And people keep moving here in droves.

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Really you have to realize much of our voilent crime is done in a relatively few areas/neighborhoods. It doesn't affect many residents at all. Not saying it doesn't spill out in to other areas, but it isn't widespread and is mostly within a few communities.

There's violent crime in Charlotte?? That's one reason so many people from Orlando are moving up that way. Orlando had the worst increase in violent crime in the country from 2006-2007, up like 380%! The next closest cities increase was Cincinatti with an increase of 41%. Is there a complete list of all the cities in Forbes. I could only get a picture list that stopped at #9 Charlotte. Does anyone know the ranking of Orlando? Thanks!

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Virtually everyone I knew knew someone else who had been shot and killed there. I could definitely say I felt as safe there as I had in Raleigh, though.

You have got an unlucky bunch of friends. I've live here 40 plus years and have not known anyone that's been shot or killed (anywhere for that matter). Am I just fortunate?

As far as traffic goes. Just when did you visit and for how long? Traffic is a mess on the interstates most of the daylight hours. All it takes is 1 little fender bender and traffic backs up to Rock Hill or Huntersville.

Edited by swampfox43
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I suppose I was just lucky as far as traffic goes. I seem to remember everyone telling me the traffic was going to kill me when I got to Charlotte but I don't really remember it being worse than Raleigh, I just remember there being more of it (as in, more lanes but they weren't more congested). Of course, one time I visited during race week and it was understandably crowded on the interstates.

Edited by brokenraven
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This Forbes article is ridiculous when it comes to the "uptick in unemployment". I'm in the IT staffing industry and I can tell you that January was the best month we've had in a long, long time. For example we placed 45 people in Charlotte last week alone....these are high paying skilled jobs too...mostly at these banks that are touted as about to do layoffs...

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I suppose I was just lucky as far as traffic goes. I seem to remember everyone telling me the traffic was going to kill me when I got to Charlotte but I don't really remember it being worse than Raleigh, I just remember there being more of it (as in, more more lanes but they weren't more congested). Of course, one time I visited during race week and it was understandably crowded on the interstates.

It all depends on what part of Charlotte you are driving in. My personal perception of Charlotte is traffic is easy and light -- but I live in Center City, rarely have to venture further than NoDa or Dilworth, and NEVER drive anywhere during rush hour. If you have to use the interstate much during rush hour, or have to navigate around many of the suburban roads where growth has outpaced paving, I'm sure it is horrible. I've been on outskirt roads at 3 in the afternoon and sat in standstill traffic -- we went to Mint Hill this past Sunday for a Superbowl party and there was heavy traffic out there mid Sunday afternoon pretty much everywhere from Albemarle Road through HWY 218.

I always hear about 'bad city traffic' but inside the city it doesn't ever seem as bad as outside or on the roads and highways to get outside the city.

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You have got an unlucky bunch of friends. I've live here 40 plus years and have not known anyone that's been shot or killed (anywhere for that matter). Am I just fortunate?

I agree. I've lived here for almost 28 years and don't know anyone who has been shot or killed either. The only reason I'm exposed to it is because I respond to the calls as EMS. I guess it's all in where you live.

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I always hear about 'bad city traffic' but inside the city it doesn't ever seem as bad as outside or on the roads and highways to get outside the city.

That's a good way to put it -- traffic in the center city is VERY light compared to the urban gridlock I see in most other large cities. It once took me almost two hours just to get through Buckhead in Atlanta, whereas the longest it's ever taken me to get straight through uptown Charlotte was about 30 minutes (Panthers traffic)... and under normal circumstances it's only a fraction of that. But Charlotte's highways are so bad, I can understand why (most) residents and visitors have the impression that the city is a giant traffic jam.

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The Forbes article is - pardon the expression - retarded. According to Forbes, higher taxes are as bad as high crime. Huh? I'll take NYC over Jacksonville, FL and its lack of state income tax anyday, thank you very much. And, yes Detroit has a crime problem, but at least the city has character. #1 worst city in America? Hardly. I'd rather live in Detroit than Cincy, St Louis, KC, Cleveland, Columbus, Milwaukee or any other city in the Rust Belt. IMHO, St Louis and Cincy are far and away the left and right armpits of these United States.

In terms of crime, though, it is really shocking to see that the Charlotte metro has a higher crime rate than Baltimore.

http://www.morganquitno.com/cit06pop.htm#500,000+

I mean, I've never been super-excited about being in certain parts of Charlotte (i.e. wandering off Brookshire near Uptown) late at night, but there are places in B-more that I wouldn't visit in broad daylight. Honestly, as gritty as it is, The Wire sometimes doesn't give the full measure of the penalty associated with getting lost. That said, if Charlotte (metro wise) has a higher crime rate, that's kinda scary.

And traffic? I'll take I-85 rush hour over I-95 rush hour any day of the week.

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I'd rather live in Detroit than Cincy, St Louis, KC, Cleveland, Columbus, Milwaukee or any other city in the Rust Belt.

Seriously? I have been to all listed above except for Columbus (which I have heard nothing but good things about), and I would pick any of those cities over Detroit. I love KC and Milwaukee and I think Cincy has a lot of character if you make it out of downtown (Newport, Mt. Adams, etc.). Detroit seemed very decrepit to me -- abandoned, boarded up townhomes and houses to the west -- very rough downtown (even the locals advised me not to walk less than a mile to my hotel -- one couple at a bar even offered to give me cash for a cab ride since I only had credit cards on me as to avoid the bums). The only thing about Detroit that I like is Greektown. Never made it to the 'burbs, though, which I hear is where it gets much nicer.

Anyway, I agree that this list is a bunch of BS. NYC the 4th most miserable place to live? Chicago the 6th? Are you kidding me? I don't know how anyone could consider such exciting, unique, and vibrant cities to be the most miserable -- I enjoy every minute I spend in both of those cities and in a way wish I could take part in the day-to-day lifestyle that they provide their residents (though my heart is still here in Charlotte). They aren't for all people...that's for sure, but that just floors me that they would publish that. Maybe if you are the type of person that wants to live in the middle of a 50 acre ranch in the country, this list could make sense -- that's not everyone, though. And even Philly, Providence?????

In fact, I almost find it in a way to be flattering for Charlotte to be ranked in the top 10 alongside these cities.

Who writes this crap anyway?

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^An editorial column was in the paper yesterday breaking down the criteria that were used to rank these miserable cities. One of the criteria I thought was bizarre to begin with was the number of superfund sites. That is strange to me because I feel for a city to be a miserable place to live it should be because the people living there feel miserable due to the factors used. Is anyone here really thinking about superfund sites, the number of them, and their happiness in day-to-day life? Doubtful.

To compound it, the column pointed out that the Charlotte region has 8 sites with only 1 inside Mecklenburg. North Carolina on a whole has 30. They further compared this to many other cities with multiple times more than we have (i don't remember the numbers) but some with numbers that top our entire state total. Not that anyone wants contaminated sites around them, but does this really make the population miserable, especially since we apparantly have a low number compared to other similar sized cities.

Like posts above, I'm happy to be in the company of NYC and Chicago, though I'll dare not imply that we are as great a city to live in...

Edited by Charlotte_native
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The Forbes article is - pardon the expression - retarded. According to Forbes, higher taxes are as bad as high crime. Huh? I'll take NYC over Jacksonville, FL and its lack of state income tax anyday, thank you very much. And, yes Detroit has a crime problem, but at least the city has character. #1 worst city in America? Hardly. I'd rather live in Detroit than Cincy, St Louis, KC, Cleveland, Columbus, Milwaukee or any other city in the Rust Belt. IMHO, St Louis and Cincy are far and away the left and right armpits of these United States.

In terms of crime, though, it is really shocking to see that the Charlotte metro has a higher crime rate than Baltimore.

http://www.morganquitno.com/cit06pop.htm#500,000+

I mean, I've never been super-excited about being in certain parts of Charlotte (i.e. wandering off Brookshire near Uptown) late at night, but there are places in B-more that I wouldn't visit in broad daylight. Honestly, as gritty as it is, The Wire sometimes doesn't give the full measure of the penalty associated with getting lost. That said, if Charlotte (metro wise) has a higher crime rate, that's kinda scary.

And traffic? I'll take I-85 rush hour over I-95 rush hour any day of the week.

I travel to the Detroit area frequently to Troy and Sterling Heights. Those areas are very nice and I'm getting to like the metro area.

I disagree with your comments about St. Louis and Cincy. St. Louis frequently ranks high in most livable, best for young people, most affordable, etc. Although the old "city" of St. Louis ranks high in the "city" crime list, it is a statistical fluke since the city is only 12% of the metro area (300K of 2.8 million) and happens to encircle the only high crime area. The entire St. Louis metro area is not even in the top 100 worst metro areas for crime in the Morgan Quitno metro list.

I went to Cincinnati for vacation a few years ago and had a blast. All three cities are older river cities that could only expand one direction easily which left an older core. But all three have booming loft districts blossoming from the old and beautiful garment district buildings starting to rejuvenate the cities from the core out. These rankings are very simplistic and just divide number A by B without taking into account the wide variety of lifestyles available within a large metro area like Detroit.

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The consumerist has picked up on the Forbes article which has made it onto digg.

View here.

Says BofA and Wachovia call it home which does not bode well for employment.

What is interesting is to read the comments about this on that link! Everyone seems to either disagree with the list itself or wonders why their particular city isn't on it!!

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