A report released by 24/7 Wall Street took a very large sledgehammer and smashed it down on the Granite City, saying St. Cloud is the worst city in Minnesota.
We all know the truth: it's just not true. But it's still interesting to look at the data the report used to come to the conclusion about Minnesota's 10th-largest city, home to nearly 70,000 residents.
First and foremost, 24/7 Wall Street only compared 11 cities in Minnesota, and they don't name any others for context – so it's hardly a comprehensive study.
Regardless, the study took into account 37 measures within eight main groups: crime, economy, education, environment, health, housing, infrastructure and leisure.
The conclusion about St. Cloud:
"Of the 11 Minnesota cities considered, St. Cloud has the highest poverty rate. More than one in five St. Cloud residents live below the poverty line, over double the state's 9.9 percent poverty rate. The city also has the state's highest annual unemployment rate, which at 4.1 percent is higher than the statewide rate of 3.9 percent but below the 4.9 percent national rate. St. Cloud is also the only city in Minnesota to be losing residents faster than it is attracting them. In the last five years, the city's population contracted by 1.0 percent."
The study excludes the wider, growing populations of cities within the St. Cloud Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes all of Stearns and Benton counties.
According to a City of St. Cloud MSA report in 2015, Stearns and Benton counties saw population gains of more than 13 percent from 2000 to 2013, which is faster than the rate the state as a whole was growing during the same period (8.7 percent).
So while St. Cloud, like any Minnesota city, has its challenges, it shows the problem with basing the quality of a place to live on statistics alone. Remember when the Washington Post tried that?
The St. Cloud Times tore the report apart with help from St. Cloud State University professor Dean of the School of Public Affairs, King Banaian.
"If I was teaching, I would probably trot this thing in to my next class meeting and say something to the effect of, 'Look at this survey. Read it, look at it analytically, and tell then tell me honestly: Do you think St. Cloud is the worst place to live in Minnesota?'" Banaian said.