The headquarters of Walmart, the world’s largest retailers and one of the largest public companies, is in Bentonville, Ark., a small town with a population of roughly 35,000 people. Walmart is the exception, however. The majority of the 500 largest publicly-traded companies in the U.S. are concentrated in the biggest cities. More than one in five are located in one of only nine major U.S. cities, with the majority based in New York, Houston and Atlanta.
In general, being headquartered in a major city has its benefits. Being near a large population base is useful both as a center of commerce and information. It also helps to attract new quality employees, as people are more likely to live or move there. However, there are several small towns, cities, and suburbs that are home to at least two of country’s largest companies. In two cases, six fortune 500 companies are headquartered in these cities. Based on a review of the headquarters of the largest companies, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 small with the biggest businesses.
These 10 towns are located in five separate states, on both the east and the west coast. The companies operate in a host of industries, including credit card processing like MasterCard, food and beverage companies like PepsiCo, and real estate financing companies like Freddie Mac.
One thing these towns have in common is that each is located near a major city. Three of them — Lake Forest, Glenview, and Deerfield — are suburbs of Chicago. Two small cities, McClean and Falls Church, Va., are suburbs of D.C. These suburbs can provide a good location for corporations, drawing from the benefits of being close to a major city, as well as the positives of being in a suburb.
The composition of these suburbs can be attractive to potential employers. The majority are extremely wealthy areas that can offer a selection of high-level hires for these companies. In 2010, the most recent year for which data was consistently available, U.S. median income was $51,914. Among these 10 cities, the median income of eight was more than $70,000. The median income in five was at least $100,000, and in Lake Forest, Ill. — a suburb of Chicago — the median income was $136,801. In Lake Forest, more than 46.2% of the households in the 19,221-resident city earned at least $200,000 in a year.
24/7 Wall St. identified the towns, cities, villages and other census-designated places in which at least two Fortune 500 companies are headquartered. Of that list, we excluded cities with populations with more than 50,000 residents. Population figures and median income were from the Census’ five-year American Community Survey’s estimates from 2010, the most recent consistent available year for cities this small. Additional company data was from corporate filings and websites.