ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque Mayor RJ Berry knows the negative headlines are out there about the Duke City.
During a speech Monday, he even read a few out for the crowd.
But he says non-New Mexicans actually have a very different view of Albuquerque than you might think if you just looked at the headlines.
A new $20,000 study paid for by the city surveyed 846 business professionals from across the country to get their impressions of Albuquerque.
In the study, people were shown a pair of descriptions like “safe” and “dangerous” and asked which one better fits Albuquerque. 63 percent said they perceived the city as “safe” while 8 percent said “dangerous.” “Affordable” got 58 percent of the vote. “Up and coming” got 55 percent.
A majority also thought it would be a good place to raise a family.
“People don’t see us in a negative light,” Mayor Berry said. “They see us in a really positive light on the things that matter.”
It wasn’t all good news though. Albuquerque didn’t compare well to other western cities when people evaluated it as a vacation destination. It was ranked better than El Paso, Texas, but worse than Salt Lake City.
When asked to describe Albuquerque in one word, the top five answers were “hot”, “desert”, “southwest”, “boring” and “dry.” Six people wrote “Mexico”, while one confused person wrote “humid” and another wrote “Taos”.
“I think they’re pretty ignorant of New Mexico,” said John Shaski. “I don’t think people who haven’t been here or aren’t from here think too much about it.”
Berry says a recent “accolade” for Albuquerque from Buzzfeed calling it one of the most underrated cities in the country isn’t really a good thing.
“It’s great that people like us,” Berry said. “It’s not great that we’re underrated.”
“We’re not seen in anything close to a bad light in almost all these major categories but there’s just too many people that don’t know [about us].”
To better sell the city, the mayor’s asking city council for $1 million to promote Albuquerque to entrepreneurs and young adults. That money would come from a fund that holds the financial incentives paid back by Schott Solar after it closed a plant in the city.