America’s Best Small Cities For Business and Careers

Forbes recently conducted a study on the best small American cities for business and careers. Traditionally, companies (in particular large ones) tend to headquarter themselves in major metropolitan areas such as New York City, Houston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. But with costs like taxes and office space on the rise, there are other thriving cities across the US for one to consider when either opening a business or seeking a lucrative career.

Forbes determined the best small cities for business and careers by looking at metropolitan statistical areas with populations under 245,000. There are 184 in total. Twelve factors were considered, including costs (both living and business), job growth (past and projected), income growth, educational attainment, and projected economic growth. Other factors included quality of life issues like crime, cultural and recreational opportunities, and migration trends. Finally, subprime mortgages were considered as well as the presence of highly ranked colleges in an area per Forbes’ annual college rankings.

The top 25 best small cities for business are:

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  1. Sioux Falls, SD
  2. Iowa City, IA
  3. Manhattan, KS
  4. Bismarck, ND
  5. Logan, UT
  6. Auburn, AL
  7. Bend, OR
  8. Columbia, MO
  9. Fargo, ND
  10. Morgantown, WV
  11. Rapid City, SD
  12. Lafayette, IN
  13. Waterloo, IA
  14. Sioux City, IA
  15. Dubuque, IA
  16. Bloomington, IN
  17. Ames, IA
  18. Charlottesville, VA
  19. Corvallis, OR
  20. College Station, TX
  21. Lawrence, KS
  22. St. George, UT
  23. Santa Fe, NM
  24. Greenville, NC
  25. Billings, MT

A common area for most of the top cities is education: “These metros are all home to top-ranked colleges that churn out a steady crop of highly educated labor.” They also share some similar characteristics like business costs and crime rates that are both well below national averages for all of the listed cities. For any recruiters who might have been considering an office relocation, any one of these cities can offer you an ideal opportunity to lower some of your overhead cost while still maintaining quality of life for you and your family.

Based on these findings, the Midwest looks pretty good right now, wouldn’t you say?

Amybeth Quinn began her career in sourcing working within the agency world as an Internet Researcher. Since 2002, she has worked in both agency and corporate sourcing and recruiting roles as both individual contributor and manager, and also served previously as the editor of The Fordyce Letter, and, with ERE Media. These days she's working on some super cool market intelligence and data analytics projects. You can connect with her on Twitter at @researchgoddess.


2 Comments on “America’s Best Small Cities For Business and Careers

  1. NO issue with Amybeth here but these articles come and go and they never really mean or accomplish anything.

    Just looking at a map tells me that this might also double as a list of places it sucks to fly to and from…let alone drive. I have relatives in Bloomington Illinois and Bloomington Indiana. One is on the list and one isn’t. There’s not a dimes’ worth of difference between the two. The Indiana one is a bit prettier but it is also hard to drive to ,let alone fly to…

    Anyhow…thanks to Amybeth for giving me something to crab about 🙂

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