"Topping our list was Arlington, Va., a highly educated urban community just across the Potomac River from Washington, followed by the District of Columbia itself, where many residents work in government or related services. The federal government employs thousands of residents, keeps lawyers, lobbyists, accountants, and journalists busy, and pumps money into the region through outsourcing jobs and multimillion-dollar contracts to companies such as Bethesda (Md.) aerospace contractor Lockheed Martin (LMT).
While D.C. didn't enjoy Manhattan's Wall Street-driven growth during the past couple of decades, it's now in an enviable position. The capital has become a hub for companies that do defense and homeland security work in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
'We don't have a Wall Street,' said Stephen Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. 'When there's a crisis like this, the Fed goes out and hires a bunch of people to help out. I suspect they'll bring Wall Street guys to Washington and put them up in hotels or empty office buildings and put them to work.'"