January 3, 2014

Chart of the Week: The best-performing U.S. cities

Source: The Milken Institute, “Best-Performing Cities 2013”

Technology and energy drove the strongest urban economies last year — none more so than in Austin, Texas, according to the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report posted on the best-cities.org site.

The Texas capital topped the institute’s annual ranking based on its large and diverse tech sector. Austin not only is home to companies such as Dell and Freescale Semiconductor (and the University of Texas’ main campus), but has attracted major facilities from, among others, IBM and Apple. Overall, the institute said, Austin has the nation’s 13th-highest concentration of technology output, as measured by metro-area GDP.

On the interactive version of the map above, you can hover over each metro area to see how it ranked; clicking on the circle brings up detailed data on how the area rated on each of the nine criteria in the institute’s index. You also can look at large and small metros separately.

Following Austin were Provo, Utah; San Francisco and San Jose; Salt Lake City; and Seattle. All of those metro areas are tech-heavy, which isn’t surprising, given that measures of high-tech output and concentration account for 28.4% of each area’s score. The other criteria in the institute’s index cover short- and long-term job growth (for a total index weight of 42.9%) and short- and long-term wage and salary growth (28.6% weight).

Of the top 25 large metros, seven were in Texas and four each were in California and Colorado, while only two (Trenton, N.J. and Cambridge, Mass.) were in the Northeast. Texas also claimed six of the top 25 small metros, which were ranked separately.

Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: National Economy

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.


  1. bd3 years ago

    Trenton? How?

  2. gmorris3 years ago


    Texas is such a mixed up state: economic growth but ranks as worse state for homeless families, kids health, pollution via land, air and water, voter rights, women’s freedom, access to health care, etc.

    1. Lynn Thoreson3 years ago

      From Jan 2012: A new report from the National Center on Family Homelessness counts Tennessee and Georgia in the top 15 for percentage of homeless children, and Alabama as worst in the nation. (timesfreepress.com)

      I would site my sources when making such claims. Like Pew does.

    2. Texan2 years ago

      Did you also conveniently hide the fact that this study was done in 2006 and that a footer notes
      The number of homeless children may be unusually high due to the 2005 hurricanes. ”

      For the latest study(2010) where Texas is placed 30th

    3. Texan2 years ago

      Also please note that the states with higher ranks are smaller states or those with lower population like Vermont Maine , ND etc where welfare programs are relatively easier to implement.