The Best Performing Cities in the US

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Provo-Orem, UT, with its robust high-tech sector and broad-based job and wage growth, is the Best-Performing City in the United States, according to the Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities 2017 Index.

Raleigh, NC, with its comparatively low business costs and thriving research and development-driven industries, ranked second in the nation. Dallas, which has added more than 50,000 high-skill professional, scientific and technical industry jobs in the last five years, came in third.

Overall, six Florida and four California cities ranked among the top-25 Best-Performing Cities. California’s Inland Empire (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario) jumped 24 places and made the top-20 for the first time in a decade. Also posting double-digit gains were the Florida regions of Sarasota-Bradenton, West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, and Tampa-St. Petersburg.

San Jose, CA, last year’s top city, is showing signs of slowing and dropped ten places to #11 overall.

Best-Performing Cities Ranking (Large Cities/Metropolitan Areas)

  1. Provo-Orem, UT
  2. Raleigh, NC
  3. Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX
  4. San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA
  5. Fort Collins, CO
  6. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
  7. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL
  8. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
  9. Austin-Round Rock, TX
  10. Salt Lake City, UT
  11. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  12. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL
  13. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC
  14. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
  15. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
  16. Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA
  17. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA
  18. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL
  19. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
  20. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
  21. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL
  22. Charleston-North Charleston, SC
  23. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
  24. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
  25. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO

Best-Performing Cities Ranking (Small Cities/Metropolitan Areas)

  1. Bend-Redmond, OR
  2. St. George, UT
  3. Gainesville, GA
  4. San Rafael, CA
  5. Wenatchee, WA
  6. Elkhart-Goshen, IN
  7. Yuba City, CA
  8. Bellingham, WA
  9. Columbus, IN
  10. Auburn-Opelika, AL

The Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index has been published annually since 1999. The index uses fact-based metrics in nine categories to evaluate the relative growth of metropolitan areas. Metrics include growth in jobs, wages and salaries, and technology output over time. The index also measures high-tech fields whose concentrations in a metropolitan area are higher than the national average.

“Provo-Orem, UT outperformed all other metros by a wide margin,” said Minoli Ratnatunga, Milken Institute director of regional economic research. “Home to Brigham Young University (BYU) and a growing technology and entrepreneurial community, the region is adding to its workforce and reaping the rewards of a vibrant industry on the broader economy.”

Salt Lake City also ranked among the top 10 large cities, while St. George, UT ranked second among Best-Performing Small Cities, making three Utah communities in the top tier of more than 400 regions evaluated.

“Utah’s strong entrepreneurial spirit and business-friendly environment allow companies to grow in communities big and small,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert of Utah. “As we invest in our skilled workforce and diverse economy, we continue to improve job opportunities and quality of life for residents statewide.”

The Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities index ( provides an objective benchmark for examining which regional strategies are succeeding.

“Metropolitan areas are crucial drivers of growth in the American economy, taking different paths to prosperity depending on their industry mix, policy choices, and available resources. While some parts of the country are thriving, others are falling behind,” explains Kevin Klowden, executive director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Regional Economics. “Our goal is to help businesses, investors, industry associations, development agencies, government officials, academics, and public-policy groups monitor and evaluate how well their region is adapting to and planning for both current and future economic trends.”

The full report, including tables with all 401 large and small regions evaluated, is available online at

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