Area Development’s Leading Metro Locations report reaffirms that most of the growth throughout the U.S. over the past several years, though broad, has been especially concentrated in the Western and Southern regions of the country. This is largely a tale of demographics, as both regions have benefitted greatly from in-migration, a high-quality of life, and strong workforce gains.
The West in particular has benefitted from positive demographic trends, but what sets it most apart from the rest of the country is its core dynamic industry mix and exceptional workforce. Seven of the top 10 large metros and five of the top 10 mid-size metros are located in the West. Dynamic industry growth coupled with the high-quality of life west of the Rocky Mountains continues to outmatch rising costs.
However, within the region, rising costs are becoming more of a concern. This is evident when looking at the overall ranking of leading metros, with Reno, Nev., taking the top spot. Metro areas like Reno, Ogden, Boulder, and Colorado Springs are becoming increasingly attractive, lower-cost alternatives to the usual Western powerhouse metros like San Jose and San Francisco. Five years from now, this list is likely to be peppered further with Mountain-West metro areas benefitting from lower costs, while maintaining strong workforces and a relatively high quality of life.