Midwestern cities struggling to improve public perceptions about them.

New research shows that all of those studies constantly released about the best and worst cities for (fill in the blank) may actually have an impact on people’s perceptions of those places. The analysis finds that people throughout the United States have poor perceptions of the Midwest and cities like Cincinnati, St. Louis, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee. More from The Atlantic:

What we found is that our initial perceptions about cities are in fact often grounded in statistical reality. The positive or negative opinions of our survey respondents were correlated, often quite strongly, with such metrics as change in population, housing prices, and cost of living, and inversely correlated with measures like crime and unemployment. On the other hand, measures such as sales tax and traffic congestion appear to have little influence on people’s perceptions of different cities.