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The Fastest Growing Small Cities In America

Joel Kotkin explores the small cities that are growing the fastest in the United States, and what factors lead to this growth.
September 4, 2014, 12pm PDT | Maayan Dembo | @DJ_Mayjahn
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As Joel Kotkin reports in a recent Forbes article, "since 2000 small cities with between 100,000 and 250,000 residents have enjoyed a 13.6% population growth rate, more than twice that of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and roughly 10% faster than the national growth rate." As demographer Wendell Cox explains, the main push for this growth is domestic migration, which is acutally negative in some of the largest cities and small towns. Indeed, looking at Census data, "the 167 metropolitan statistical areas with between 100,000 to 250,000 in population have added a net 675,000 people due to domestic migration since 2000."

Kotkin completed his rankings of fastest growing cities using four main factors: population growth from 2000-13, job growth from 2001-14, real per capita personal income growth from 2000-12, and growth of regional GDP per job from 2001-12. Ranking at the top is The Villages, Florida, a relatively new community of "active" seniors that has doubled population since 2000. Indeed, many other thriving senior communities found their way onto the list.

Other communities on the list included booming energy industry driven towns, seeing explosions of growth and income as new oil or gas fields are discovered. In addition, many college towns made the list, and small cities dependent on government employment such as Jacksonville, North Carolina.

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Published on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 in Forbes
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