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Cost of 'Place Prejudice': Misunderstood Hometowns

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New York City is crawling with street crime. Las Vegas is sin city. And Orlando depends on Disney World for its economy.

What you've heard is true, right?

Wrong.

New York has one of the lowest street crime rates of any major US metropolis. Las Vegas has more churches per capita than any other US city. And there are more advanced technology workers in Orlando than in all of its entertainment parks combined.

The problem is "place prejudice." And the cumulative cost of this bigotry is probably in the hundreds of billions of dollars as tourists, investors, workers, and retirees stereotype cities, states, regions, and countries.

I'm not talking about uneducated people. I'm talking about some of America's smartest and most powerful.

Take Alabama. Every few years 200 top US CEOs are asked their impressions of the state as a location for new plants or other facilities.

The response: unskilled labor, poor schools, bad race relations, and hillbilly image.

This is pretty funny when you consider that in 1997, Alabama produced America's "Truck of the Year."-- Mercedes' new M-Class. And much of NASA's sophisticated hard and software is produced in Alabama by workers that are anything but dumb, uneducated, or backward.

Perhaps even more ominous, 50 percent of those executive decision makers said they would "tend to throw away" without review any descriptive material on Alabama that came their way.

Translation: Places like Alabama often have two strikes against them before they step to the plate.

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