To find out the fastest growing cities in America, WalletHub recently compared 515 different sized cities based on 15 measures of growth and decline over the past seven years. The measures include topics such as population growth, unemployment rate decrease, and growth in regional GDP per capita.
WalletHub found that Frisco, Texas came in at No. 1, with a total score of 76.01 graded on a 100-point scale. A score of 100 would mean the fastest economic growth. Following Frisco was Kent, Washington (68.32); Lehigh Acres, Florida (67); Meridian, Idaho (62.71) and Midland, Texas (62.64).
When it comes to fast growth such as what these cities are seeing, concerns include how to provide adequate public services, overcrowding schools and roads, and housing shortages on top of the already high demand and low inventory. Another concern is gentrification and how to support it without displacing residents.
According to Professor of Architecture and Director of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Initiative in the College of Design at North Carolina State University Thomas Barrie, the key is a diversity of housing.
“For example, backyard cottages were once a common housing type in America, but were zoned out in many cities during the 1970s and 80s,” said Barrie. “They can provide one means of affordable housing at no cost to municipalities, and located where they are needed most—inner city or first-ring suburb neighborhoods, close to services and public transportation.”
On the other side of the spectrum are the cities that aren’t growing enough. Starting with 511th place to 515th, Montgomery, Alabama (22.72), Decatur, Illinois (22.54), Fayetteville, North Carolina (20.97), Jacksonville, North Carolina (19.06), and Shreveport, Louisiana (17.38) wrapped up the list.
According to Melanie Bowers, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Public Policy, and Administration at Rutgers University, Camden, there are two key components for battling this slow growth—jobs and investing in the city’s education system.
“There are a lot of tools and theories about economic development, but they don’t work universally,” Bowers said. “Cities have to figure out their individual assets and turn to the community for ideas and innovations.”
To see the full list, click here.