These US Cities Lead in Economic Growth

Cities in Arizona came in at or near the top in each category.

A new analysis by CoworkingCafe has identified U.S. cities that lead in fostering economic growth based on their size: small, medium or large. The analysis focuses on cities as defined by their municipal boundaries, instead of as metro areas, based on 2022 data.

Cities were judged based on 11 characteristics including population growth, GDP, employment rates, median earnings, housing units, number of business applications, and foreign trade activity.

Cities in Arizona came in at or near the top in each category. That may be because the cities even though independent were all part of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and may have benefited from its size and economy.

Among large cities with populations over 500,000, Mesa, AZ ranked first, scoring 66 points. It earned that rank based on its 38% GDP growth, 2% employment growth, and 34% uptick in infrastructure development. There were significant increases in business applications, exports and earnings. The report also cited Mesa's focus on diversifying its economy by attracting tech companies. Another Arizona city, Phoenix, came third with 63 points.

Fort Worth, TX (64 points) came second among big cities with 7% population growth, a 10% educational attainment rate, significant investments in housing, and diversified economy including technology, healthcare, and logistics.

Two California cities, Sacramento (62 points) and Fresno tied with Austin, TX at 59.9 points rounded out the top five.

Among midsized cities with populations between 250,000 and 500,000, Gilbert, AZ, scored 67 points to lead the category. It is another city that is part of the Phoenix metro along with Chandler, which ranked third among midsized cities. Gilbert's substantial GDP growth and an increase in infrastructure and housing units accompanied by 10% population growth, attributed to its reputation as a good place to raise a family, boosted its score.

Jersey City (59 points) came second, helped by a 45% improvement in earnings. Other cities that scored in the midsized top five were St. Petersburg, FL (57.5 points) and Stockton, CA (56.9 points). St. Petersburg benefited from an 81% increase in business applications and exports that nearly doubled, along with its strategic waterfront location and innovation-friendly policies. Stockton, too, benefited from a boom in business applications, workforce development programs, and supportive ecosystem for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Among small cities with populations of less than 250,000, Nampa, ID (62 points) led the nation. The city, which is part of the Boise metro area, enjoyed population growth, declining unemployment, and proactive local policies that have attracted business and economic development.

San Bernadino, CA (59 points) came second, attributable to an employment rate that grew 4% to 56%, trade improvement, a diverse economic base and efforts to revitalize downtown and improve public safety.

Port St. Lucie, FL (57 points) placed third. It "is becoming a hotbed for entrepreneurs," the report stated, with 89% growth in business applications, new housing units, and tourist appeal. Murfreesboro, TN (56.3 points) came in fourth, followed by another Arizona city, Surprise (55.9 points), which is also part of the Phoenix metro area.

Source: GlobeSt/ALM