Hawaii’s image as paradise can be good and bad
A survey places Hawaii eighth among states other Americans prefer.
DEPENDING on your point of view, Hawaii's placing eighth in a survey of states that other Americans find desirable for living can be good or bad.
It might be good because it could mean fewer people would be inclined to move here and add their numbers to the crush of cars, competition for homes and taxing of public services and resources; bad because it could mean that others look poorly upon Hawaii for serious matters.
Surveys -- such as one commissioned for a company that sells its data so that a state may "capitalize on its strengths" and gain " insight into areas that need improvement," as its Web site declares -- can be useful.
Nonetheless, perceptions are difficult to modify, particularly for a state whose image is thickly wrapped around tourism.
In the Anholt State Brands Index that surveyed 12,000 foreigners and 9,000 Americans, that image emerges with Hawaii being perceived as most beautiful. For liveliness, meaning things to do, it ranked fourth.
But the state fell somewhere below the top 20 -- exactly it where would require buying the pricey survey results -- when jobs and higher education were considered. In affordability, amenities and infrastructure (did the whole world hear about the Ala Wai sewage spill?), Hawaii placed 48th.
What can be done to shift Hawaii's image? Apparently little, according to Simon Anholt, the index executive. Images, Anholt told the Star-Bulletin's Erika Engle, "are created over decades or centuries" and campaigns "actually do remarkably little to change people's minds about places."
In any case, Hawaii capturing eighth place isn't so bad. Consider poor New Jersey. Foreign respondents ranked the Garden State last among all states they'd choose to live in, while Americans pegged it as the state with the worst climate. Both groups considered New Jersey the least attractive.
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