Cities in Texas, North Carolina and Idaho top the latest annual list of top U.S. economic performers.
According to the Milken Institute, Austin, Raleigh and Boise beat out 400 competitors to take the top three spots.
In developing its list, the think tank analyzed local labor market conditions, the impact of high-tech and access to economic opportunities.
As a result, the annual study provides a good overview of economic vitality at the community level and shows how different areas are adapting to an ever-evolving economy.
Insights into factors such as wage growth, housing affordability and broadband access provide an even more detailed picture of financial health.
According to the annual list of the top economic hubs in the U.S. compiled by New York's Milken Institute, Austin, Raleigh and Boise beat out 400 competitors to take the top three spots
Austin–Round Rock took the top spot, becoming the best-performing large city for the first time since 2013. Its rise – an increase from the previous year – was driven by factors such as better wages, more jobs and a higher cost of living compared to the rest of the country
Austin-Round Rock took the top spot, becoming the top-performing large city for the first time since 2013.
His ascension — an increase from last year — capped a remarkable three-year success story for the Provo-Orem metro area, which has become a hotspot for technology development in Utah with several billion-dollar startups.
However, declines in the local job market saw the company fall to fifth place, just behind its rival 45 miles north, Salt Lake City.
SLC, the Beehive State's largest metro, rose 19 spots from last year, thanks to strong ratings in job growth, housing affordability and impact on technology.
Provo-Orem – a close leader in both population and economic performance – achieved impressive results in broadband coverage, job growth and increasing wages, securing its place in the top 10.
The top three—Austin, Raleigh, and Boise—boasted better wages, employment, and costs of living than the rest of the country, and also had thriving technology sectors that made them economic models for the rest of the country.
All of the year's top 10 scorers were located in landlocked states, reflecting the country's changing economic landscape as it continues to achieve a new post-pandemic status quo.
Only one top-tier metro – the metropolitan area of Charleston and North Charleston in South Carolina – was on the coast, ranking 11th.
The Austin, Texas skyline is visible at sunset from the South Congress neighborhood, a vibrant area known for its trendy restaurants and shopping
Raleigh, North Carolina came in a close second thanks to similar results in the above categories and a growing local scene. Pictured is the city's annual beer festival, which takes place every October
Downtown Boise can be seen here. The Idaho city reached third place thanks to “excellent five-year job and wage growth, supported by a small but growing high-tech sector and high rankings in resiliency and income distribution metrics” across the state, institute officials said
Seen here is the Idaho State Capitol building in downtown Boise.
The areas ranked six to ten are primarily in the southern United States, in states such as Tennessee, Arkansas and North Carolina.
Only one – Olympia – was found elsewhere, with Washington state's capital claiming ninth place after finishing 42nd last year.
Strong ratings on housing affordability, technology growth and community resilience – its ability to adapt to local changes – fueled the 33-place jump, the largest among the top ten.
This is because the percentage of the city's workforce employed by the government is falling every year as the capital relies less and less on them as a stabilizer thanks to other emerging companies.
Behind them were longstanding locations in the Lone Star State, Arkansas and Tennessee, each with impressive scores in housing affordability, broadband coverage and community resiliency.
They were Nashville in northwest Arkansas and rapidly booming Dallas, which ranked sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
The Beehive State's largest metropolitan area, Salt Lake City, rose 19 spots from last year, thanks to strong ratings in job growth, housing affordability and impact on technology
The state's Provo-Orem metropolitan area, which has become a hotbed of tech development with several multibillion-dollar startups, ranked fifth, just behind its slightly larger counterpart
Nashville ranked sixth thanks to impressive results in housing affordability, broadband coverage and community resiliency
The metro area and Northwest Arkansas region ranked seventh thanks to the 1,700 suppliers and vendors drawn to the region by a health climate driven by large employers such as Simmons Foods in Siloam Springs
Dallas, meanwhile, ranked eighth as it continues to attract workers from across the country
In addition to remaining close to the 2022 rankings, each location also has a rapidly evolving tech scene.
But the biggest population gain over the past year is in Dallas, whose metropolitan area it shares with Fort Worth outpaces hundreds of others in the United States.
The northern, southern resort – famous for its soccer and cosmopolitan vibe – grew by 170,396 in 2022, federal statistics show, and could still accommodate more thanks to its size. That's a population growth of 8.6 percent in just one year.
Covering approximately 9,000 square miles, it is the largest inland metropolis in the country, making it larger than six other states and roughly the same size as Puerto Rico.
As something of a white-collar business hub, the city is a one-two punch with Houston in terms of economic growth, with the more liberal city's rise largely driven by corporate relocation.
Since 2019, more than 300 companies have moved to the city, including California companies Jacobs Solutions, Charles Schwab and McKesson.
Meanwhile, Nashville is emerging as a major metropolitan leader when it comes to medical businesses. In recent years, more than 500 companies have flocked to the city.
A mass migration of tech giants looking to establish larger offices outside the Bay Area has also led to The Music City's financial scene growing, thanks to a low cost of living as well as recent investments in infrastructure and workforce development.
All of the year's top 10 scorers were located in landlocked states, reflecting the country's changing economic landscape as it continues to achieve a new post-pandemic status quo. Fairgoers gathered at the Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas last year
Now an unlikely tech hub, the city's population is expected to grow – having already grown by nearly 100 people every day over the past year.
The Arkansas metro area and region – nestled in the Ozark Mountains – likely achieved its score thanks to the 1,700 suppliers and vendors drawn to the area by the business climate, driven by several large employers such as Simmons Foods in Siloam Springs.
It also includes four of the state's ten largest cities in Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville, creating multiple economic hubs that contribute to overall healthier lives.
The institute also listed the top-ranked small cities, and four of the top seven cities – Idaho Falls, Coeur d'Alene, Twin Falls and Pocatello – were in Idaho, thanks to a statewide population boom, a healthy job market, etc. and a low cost of living.
The other small cities in the top seven were Gainesville, Georgia; St. George, Utah; and Bend, Ore.; Continuing a general theme of highly rated metros in the Midwest, South and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the Northwest.
However, the institute classified these cities as small metropolises because they have fewer than 275,000 residents.