America's 10 fastest-growing population centers


Technology jobs and the rebound in tourism are fueling a reshuffling of America's population centers, according to an October report by a nonpartisan think tank affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The American Growth Project by the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, a business policy think tank, found that the top 10 fastest-growing cities in the U.S. are moving the "center of gravity" for economic activity away from the East Coast, Kenan executive director Gregory Brown tells Axios.

  • The San Francisco Bay Area, Austin, Seattle, Raleigh and Durham, Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Charlotte, New Orleans, and Orlando make up the top rankings.

 These are America's next boomtowns — if local leaders find ways to capitalize on burgeoning industries, Brown says.

  • These cities will need to invest in infrastructure, such as housing, plus education and job training to fuel their growth potential, according to the report.

Researchers built the list by weighing factors that included county-level employment rates and economic output for each city.

The intrigue: Brown points to No. 2 Austin as an example of what could be on the horizon for lower-ranked cities.

  • In two years, the median home value there grew from $349,156 to $566,479, according to the research.
  • "It's going to be a big change over the next few years for people who live [in the 10 cities] to see how you suddenly become a much bigger, more vibrant city," Brown says.

 A strong tech industry, buoyed by pandemic gains for companies like Zoom, secured the top two spots for the San Francisco Bay Area and Austin — for now.

  • Hiring freezes and declining real estate trends could be "worrisome" for San Francisco and evidence that Austin's labor boom may have peaked, the research says.

Younger residents are contributing to stable growth prospects for cities like Seattle (No. 3) and Denver (No. 6).

  • The report notes that Seattle, home to Amazon and Microsoft, is a leader in clean energy, which researchers believe attracts young job seekers.
  • Millennials are helping drive Denver's economy, with researchers pointing to a separate study that found 71% of people who lived in Denver at age 16 stayed or had returned by age 26.
  • Meanwhile, a rebound in tourism and hospitality in the past year helped push Orlando and New Orleans into the top 10.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post