Special Report

Cities With the Strongest Economies in 2022

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Considering important factors like recent growth in employment and wages and the number of college-educated residents, Utah has a lot going for it. The Beehive State has been in a decade-long economic boom. Its gross domestic product growth jumped by nearly 37% from 2010 to 2020, according to Forbes magazine.

Utah not only has three of the best-performing U.S. cities or metropolitan areas with populations greater than 500,000 people, but it also has two smaller cities that rank among the most successful when it comes to these factors. (These are America’s 50 best cities to live.)

To identify the 15 best performing large cities in the United States, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the report Best-Performing Cities 2022 – Charting Economic Resilience and Opportunity, published by the nonprofit economic think tank Milken Institute. The report looked at metropolitan areas, rating each by an index comprising 11 measures, including employment and wage growth. 

Utah, Texas, and Colorado have the largest number of best-performing large cities. Metro areas in nine other states, including the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers area that overlaps into Arkansas and Missouri, have performed well above the national averages. (These are the best states to look for a job.)

Provo–Orem, Utah, ranks first due to high job growth, wage growth, and high-tech GDP growth. The area, dubbed the Silicon Slopes, has attracted such tech giants as Oracle, Adobe, and Amazon, and remains a fertile ground for young startups.

Employment growth in the top 15 large cities ranged from 2.5% in San Jose, California, to almost 20% in Provo. Provo also experienced the largest jump in wages, at 28%, from 2015 to 2020. 

San Jose has the largest bachelor’s degree or higher attainment rate among adults, at 53%. Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, ranks as the 10th best-performing city or metropolitan area, with a population of more than 7.4 million, the largest on the list.

Here is the city with the strongest economy in 2022
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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15. Boise City, ID
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +17.4% — #2 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +21.2% — #4 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 33.2% — #84 highest
> Total population: 730,483 — #89 highest

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14. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +4.1% — #52 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +7.5% — #32 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 44.7% — #15 highest
> Total population: 2,928,437 — #30 highest

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13. Ogden-Clearfield, UT
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +10.6% — #10 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +12.5% — #13 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 31.9% — #105 highest
> Total population: 672,948 — #94 highest

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12. Huntsville, AL
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +8.0% — #21 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +8.4% — #28 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 39.8% — #27 highest
> Total population: 464,607 — #125 highest

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11. Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +4.2% — #48 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +11.6% — #16 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 46.4% — #13 highest
> Total population: 636,256 — #101 highest

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10. Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +8.2% — #19 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +6.5% — #41 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 36.0% — #57 highest
> Total population: 7,451,858 — #7 highest

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9. Colorado Springs, CO
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +6.9% — #27 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +5.0% — #51 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 38.6% — #42 highest
> Total population: 735,480 — #88 highest

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8. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +10.6% — #9 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +10.7% — #18 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 33.2% — #82 highest
> Total population: 526,101 — #115 highest

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7. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +2.5% — #64 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +23.2% — #2 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 52.5% — #3 highest
> Total population: 1,985,926 — #46 highest

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6. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +4.2% — #49 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +22.1% — #3 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 43.6% — #16 highest
> Total population: 3,928,498 — #25 highest

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5. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +11.2% — #7 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +13.5% — #8 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 30.9% — #116 highest
> Total population: 594,001 — #105 highest

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4. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +10.4% — #11 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +11.8% — #14 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 32.2% — #98 highest
> Total population: 4,860,338 — #18 highest

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3. Salt Lake City, UT
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +8.7% — #17 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +13.3% — #10 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 35.8% — #62 highest
> Total population: 1,215,955 — #58 highest

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2. Austin-Round Rock, TX
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +12.5% — #4 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +19.0% — #6 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 46.0% — #14 highest
> Total population: 2,173,804 — #41 highest

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1. Provo-Orem, UT
> Employment growth, 2015 to 2020: +19.8% — #1 highest out of 200 cities
> Wage growth, 2015 to 2020: +28.0% — #1 highest
> Adults with bachelor’s degree or higher: 40.7% — #25 highest
> Total population: 633,129 — #102 highest

Methodology

To identify the 15 best performing large cities in the United States, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the report Best-Performing Cities 2022 – Charting Economic Resilience and Opportunity, published by the nonprofit economic think tank Milken Institute. The report looked at metropolitan areas, rating each by an index that includes 11 different measures, including GDP, employment, and wage growth. Other measures included high-tech-related measures, access to broadband, and housing affordability.

Supplemental data includes the share of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher for each metro and population from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 2020 five-year estimates.

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