Washington Post data journalist Christopher Ingraham dubbed Red Lake Falls, Minn., "America's Worst Place to Live" about a year ago. Ingraham reported on a federal “natural amenities” index that ranked more than 3,000 U.S. counties based on their physical characteristics that made them "nice" places to live.
But as Realtor.com senior editor Judy Dutton reports, once the article came out, officials from Red lake called him up and invited him to actually come to the town. And now he loves it.
What caused him to change his mind?
“My relocation to Red Lake Falls has been a humbling reminder of the limitations of numbers,” Ingraham reported in his follow-up article. “It has opened my eyes to all of the things that get lost when you abstract people, places and points in time down to a single number on a computer screen.” Also MIA from the data was Red Lake’s ambience. Fine, it may be wheat fields for as far as the eye can see, but as Ingraham points out, “Red Lake Falls feels like the kind of town your grandparents would live in, and I mean that in the best possible way.”
In sum, labeling a city “best,” “worst,” “ugliest,” “most expensive,” or anything really is hardly the entire picture.