Texas, North Carolina, and Idaho Cities Top List of 10 Best Performing Economies

Some of the other cities at the top might surprise you.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Boise Idaho - Capital of the Gem State sky

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A recent study conducted by the Milken Institute, an economic think tank, has unveiled the top economically performing cities in the U.S., offering insights into their vitality and resilience in an ever-evolving economy. Cities were evaluated on factors like job growth, wage growth, inequality, and internet coverage to name a few. Cities in Texas, North Carolina, Idaho, and Utah (with two cities in the top 10) rounded out the top spots.

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Austin, Texas

f11photo/Adobe downtown skyline of austin texas

Austin, the capital of Texas, takes the number one spot on the Milken Institute’s list. Known for its vibrant tech scene and thriving economy, Austin offers better wages, job numbers, and cost of living compared to many other cities in the country. Its ascent to the top spot reflects the large city’s status as a model for economic success.

Raleigh, North Carolina

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe tall skylines of raleigh in north carolina at night

Raleigh, often referred to as the "Research Triangle" due to its proximity to several major research universities, ranks second on the list. The city boasts a diverse economy, with a strong focus on technology and innovation. Its robust job growth and access to economic opportunities, particularly in tech industries, contribute to its high ranking. The city scored particularly high for wage growth and job growth.

Boise, Idaho

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe traffic on streets of idaho

Boise, the capital city of Idaho, secures the third position on the list. With a booming population and healthy job market, Boise offers an attractive combination of affordability and economic opportunity. The city's thriving tech sector and community resilience make it a standout performer. Boise scored high for job growth, wage growth, and internet service access.

Salt Lake City, Utah

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe salt lake city in utah

Utah has become a hub for multi-billion-dollar startups, and as such it’s no surprise the capital Salt Lake City is the top city in the state. The city shot up 19 spots from last year, owing job growth, housing affordability, and tech impact to its ascent.

Provo-Orem, Utah

Andrew/Adobe Downtown Provo Utah

The second Utah city on the list in the top five, Provo-Orem is also home to several successful startups and has seen tremendous growth over the past couple of years. Impressive scores in internet coverage, job growth, and wage growth saw the city earn this spot in the top five right behind its larger Utah city counterpart.

The rest of the top 10

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe lower broadway nashville tn usa

6. Nashville, Tennessee
7. Northwest Arkansas
8. Dallas, Texas
9. Olympia, Washington
10. Charlotte, North Carolina

Bottom line

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The data from this study provides valuable insights for those looking to relocate or start investing in new areas. Understanding the economic performance of different cities can help stakeholders identify opportunities for growth and development, and policymakers can use this information to formulate strategies aimed at promoting economic prosperity and resilience in their respective communities.

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Author Details

Georgina Tzanetos Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who has been active in financial media for the past six years. She holds a master's in political economy from NYU, where she studied distressed labor markets.