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bchris02

Perception of Little Rock

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In relation to the topic being discussed in the car dealerships thread about why LR doesn't have a Porsche dealership, it is interesting to see how well LR stacks up to other cities in its tier despite the negative perception LR has throughout the rest of the state and even the nation.

.................................................Little Rock......Jackson.....Shreveport.......Des Moines

MSA.................................... .. 653,000........529,000......375,000.......534,230

Median Household Income....$37,000.......$30,000......$30,000........$38,400

Median Family Income..........$47,000.......$36,000......$37,000........$46,600

Per Capita Income................$23,200.........$17,000......$17,800........$19,400

Does anybody think this negative perception is a contributing factor to whether or not businesses locate here (i.e. Porsche, Cheesecake Factory, Macy's, etc)? Does anybody think it inhibits growth in Pulaski county?

I will say that I was very shocked how nice the city is the first time I visited after all the terrible things I had heard while living in rural Arkansas. Why is it that such a negative perception of LR prevails?

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In relation to the topic being discussed in the car dealerships thread about why LR doesn't have a Porsche dealership, it is interesting to see how well LR stacks up to other cities in its tier despite the negative perception LR has throughout the rest of the state and even the nation.

.................................................Little Rock......Jackson.....Shreveport.......Des Moines

MSA.................................... .. 653,000........529,000......375,000.......534,230

Median Household Income....$37,000.......$30,000......$30,000........$38,400

Median Family Income..........$47,000.......$36,000......$37,000........$46,600

Per Capita Income................$23,200.........$17,000......$17,800........$19,400

Does anybody think this negative perception is a contributing factor to whether or not businesses locate here (i.e. Porsche, Cheesecake Factory, Macy's, etc)? Does anybody think it inhibits growth in Pulaski county?

I will say that I was very shocked how nice the city is the first time I visited after all the terrible things I had heard while living in rural Arkansas. Why is it that such a negative perception of LR prevails?

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In relation to the topic being discussed in the car dealerships thread about why LR doesn't have a Porsche dealership, it is interesting to see how well LR stacks up to other cities in its tier despite the negative perception LR has throughout the rest of the state and even the nation.

.................................................Little Rock......Jackson.....Shreveport.......Des Moines

MSA.................................... .. 653,000........529,000......375,000.......534,230

Median Household Income....$37,000.......$30,000......$30,000........$38,400

Median Family Income..........$47,000.......$36,000......$37,000........$46,600

Per Capita Income................$23,200.........$17,000......$17,800........$19,400

Does anybody think this negative perception is a contributing factor to whether or not businesses locate here (i.e. Porsche, Cheesecake Factory, Macy's, etc)? Does anybody think it inhibits growth in Pulaski county?

I will say that I was very shocked how nice the city is the first time I visited after all the terrible things I had heard while living in rural Arkansas. Why is it that such a negative perception of LR prevails?

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From talking with people in the state but that grew up outside of LR there are two things that I have found that drive the rural Arkansans perception of the city. The first is the fact that they feel people in LR tend to look down on those that are from small rural towns. The other is the crime rates that are shown for LR. As a lifelong resident I can say that the vast majority of the crime is confined to certain parts of the city but when you see things on the news saying that LR is one of the worst cities for crime per capita people think of the entire city and that is especially true for those unfamiliar with the area. I am sure there are other reasons for the perception but those are the most common I have heard.

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From talking with people in the state but that grew up outside of LR there are two things that I have found that drive the rural Arkansans perception of the city. The first is the fact that they feel people in LR tend to look down on those that are from small rural towns. The other is the crime rates that are shown for LR. As a lifelong resident I can say that the vast majority of the crime is confined to certain parts of the city but when you see things on the news saying that LR is one of the worst cities for crime per capita people think of the entire city and that is especially true for those unfamiliar with the area. I am sure there are other reasons for the perception but those are the most common I have heard.

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This is another set of statistics that I always found interesting. LR is actually one of the most educated cities in the South. These numbers are even more astounding when you note LR is ranked 49th in bachelor's degrees per capita.

LR has 35.5% bachelor's degree or greater, 85.9% with HS diploma.

Compare this with...

Memphis 20.9/76.4

Nashville 29.7/81.1

Shreveport 22.2/75.9

Tulsa 28.3/84.4

OKC 24.0/81.3

Jackson 27.1/79.1

Kansas City 25.7/82.5

Birmingham 18.5/17.5

New Orleans 25.8/74.7

..and everyone's favorite comparitor...

Des Moines 21.2/86.1

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WOW! That's unbelievable. Does anyone note the direct comparison between the education level and income level?! THIS is why Little Rock is relatively affluent in comparison. Education is key to just about everything. I'm more proud of this statistic than any other quoted prior....nice post Aporkalypse!

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Part of the negative perception from rural Arkansas is that they look at LR as being too "big city". I know people from even near suburbs like Benton, Conway and Cabot that are afraid to drive in LR because of their perception of the traffic. I also think you nailed it in that people are very afraid of crime, though in most parts of the city it never touches you. You generally have to be the wrong person at the wrong place at the wrong time for it to occur.

This is another set of statistics that I always found interesting. LR is actually one of the most educated cities in the South. These numbers are even more astounding when you note Arkansas as a whole is ranked 49th in bachelor's degrees per capita.

LR has 35.5% bachelor's degree or greater, 85.9% with HS diploma.

Compare this with...

Memphis 20.9/76.4

Nashville 29.7/81.1

Shreveport 22.2/75.9

Tulsa 28.3/84.4

OKC 24.0/81.3

Jackson 27.1/79.1

Kansas City 25.7/82.5

Birmingham 18.5/17.5

New Orleans 25.8/74.7

..and everyone's favorite comparitor...

Des Moines 21.2/86.1

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A little anecdote about perceptions about Arkansas.

I was in a small town in Oregon for a wedding this summer. This region has a struggling community college, an ethnically homogenous population, rampant drug and alcohol abuse, high unemployment, worse underemployment, and a terrible division between the haves and have-nots. It never recovered from the death of lthe logging and fishing industries in the eighties. I have heard this place described as the armpit of Oregon. More than once. And it doesn't smell like Pine Bluff and--off the main highway--is one of the most gorgeous places on earth.

When folks found out where I was from, I got an immediate reaction. They looked as if I had smeared myself with manure.

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I've found that most people that have never been to Little Rock are suprised by it. I have had business associates from larger metros who have never been to Little Rock comment on how urban it is and how clean it is. Someone from Nashville commented on the amount of nice restaurants we have.

One thing that gave Little Rock a bad image was the HBO Doc. Bangin' In Little Rock. Even years after it aired, when I traveled to other places some would reference it. I think that has done the most damage to Little Rock's reputation in the past 20 years. As I said, when people come to Little Rock I think their attitudes change if they had a negative perception.

I agree that stat on college degrees and high school graduates is outstanding. That something we need to talk about when they have post on up and coming cities. Little Rock is definitely in that category.

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I've found that most people that have never been to Little Rock are suprised by it. I have had business associates from larger metros who have never been to Little Rock comment on how urban it is and how clean it is. Someone from Nashville commented on the amount of nice restaurants we have.

One thing that gave Little Rock a bad image was the HBO Doc. Bangin' In Little Rock. Even years after it aired, when I traveled to other places some would reference it. I think that has done the most damage to Little Rock's reputation in the past 20 years. As I said, when people come to Little Rock I think their attitudes change if they had a negative perception.

I agree that stat on college degrees and high school graduates is outstanding. That something we need to talk about when they have post on up and coming cities. Little Rock is definitely in that category.

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I hated that documentary. The whole point was to show how gangs had made it from the coasts to ordinary middle America. It was interpreted, though, as a statement of how LR was a crime-ridden hellhole. That didn't set us back as much as Central High did but it might not be far from it.

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I don't know guys...I think people blow the effect this had out of the water. Seriously, how many people actually watch HBO anyway (or at least did back then)? Sure, its not good for perception, but it cannot even begin to compare to the Central High crisis....it was also in excess of 10 years ago.

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More people than you think. Like I said, I've gotten plenty of comments about Bangin' in Little Rock from others outside of the state. Not as much now, but in the mid and late 90's, I heard about it a lot.

You are right that it doesn't compare to the Central High Crisis, but Little Rock was just getting over that when Bangin' came out. Little Rock jumping on the crime problem, Clinton becoming president and the development of dowtown, I think, helped quell the perception that Bangin' left with many.

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Some of this stuff kinda reminds me of what my mom always told me, "Son, you're from Arkansas. Right or wrong, people will always judge you by that. You'll have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition because of where you grew up." She was absolutely, totally right.

Whenever anything comes up that paints Arkansas in even the tiniest bit of negative light, it always snowballs and people just use it as an excuse to reinforce their negative stereotypes about the state and its citizens.

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Some of this stuff kinda reminds me of what my mom always told me, "Son, you're from Arkansas. Right or wrong, people will always judge you by that. You'll have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition because of where you grew up." She was absolutely, totally right.

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I think people are pleasantly surprised at the over all atmosphere of Little Rock. I have relatives that live in LAX and San Jose, CA. Both were very surprised at the look and how nice the city was. I think the city has a good perception, but one that could still use a boast. As a student currently at LRCH, the crisis had a huge impact on the city. One that can still be felt and talked about in newspapers around the country. Today, Central is more the focus of its Unity(or lack of) and its Academics. But the school over all is a GREAT asset to the city!

LR does have a lot to improve with-in the city. Like the neighborhoods south of 630, Downtown, 430/630 interchange. But I think LR has a lot going for it right now. It's one of the better mid-size southern cities. I think its just prime for a big upswing. As long as nobody goes out of business or bought up aka Dillard

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As long as nobody goes out of business or bought up aka Dillard's, Alltel, etc, I think that we are okay. Remember, as the state grows, so does the gov. so what's good for Arkansas, is good for Little Rock as we are the state capital.

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One thing I think Little Rockers and Southerners get down on themselves about a lot is our racist past, and how we haven't really solved these problems yet. Agreed.

However, I can tell you from experience and from polls, we handle race much better down here than Northerners do. My personal experience living on the south side of Chicago has truly been an eye-opener. Since I have had black friends and my parents have had black friends since I was born, I knew very few sheltered white people, and let me tell you there are plenty in the North. People simply don't mix there: white people ignore black people as much as possible, and black people get angry about that and start hating white people.

In the South, white people make feeble efforts at helping black people, and are generally KIND to black people, and so there's a lot less tension there, even if there hasn't been just a ton of improvement.

http://www.economist.com/specialreports/di...tory_id=8729871

This is an interesting special report I read recently in the Economist (a trans-Atlantic publication) about the changing South, and it is generally well informed (though not always).

A ways in, there is a statistic that says southern blacks are considerably less likely to view society as inherently racist as northern blacks (or something along those lines).

I think this would come as a HUGE shock for most northerners, but it doesn't surprise me a bit.

I think this is just something to think about, especially when those damnyankees start trying to make you feel inferior. Perhaps not in economics, but in many other ways the South has far surpassed the North.

That said, I still think many private schools ruin this black-white reconciliation (sorry, I just had to).

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Does anybody know where the Arkansas hillbilly stereotype originates? Rural parts of other states like Texas, Tennessee, Southern Illinois, and countless others aren't much different from rural Arkansas but they don't suffer the same ridicule our state does.

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Does anybody know where the Arkansas hillbilly stereotype originates? Rural parts of other states like Texas, Tennessee, Southern Illinois, and countless others aren't much different from rural Arkansas but they don't suffer the same ridicule our state does.

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Does anybody know where the Arkansas hillbilly stereotype originates? Rural parts of other states like Texas, Tennessee, Southern Illinois, and countless others aren't much different from rural Arkansas but they don't suffer the same ridicule our state does.

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a fun read

Arkansas is also gaining a reputation as a politically savvy state. NPR has something on this no too long ago.

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Good reference to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas piece on Hillbillies. One really damaging book not mentioned in the Encyclopedia was "On a Slow Train Through Arkansas", by Thomas W. Jackson. This book, published around the turn of the last century, was a collection of stories which made fun of the state and its residents. Everyone was presented as either a fool, lazy or a crook.

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