Economic uncertainty has been a top concern for most Americans over the past several months, and many experts predict that financial struggles will continue into the new year. However, despite the many challenges Americans have faced nationwide, there are some U.S. cities that have managed to grow in recent years.
In a new study, SmartAsset uncovered the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. We analyzed data for 494 of the largest cities across topics measuring growth of the population, income, GDP, businesses, housing and changes in unemployment. For more information on our data or how we put together our findings, read the Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAsset’s 2022 edition on the top boomtowns in America. Check out the previous version here.
- The West and South dominate the top 50. In fact, there isn’t a city outside of those two regions until No. 52 (Jersey City, New Jersey). The top 10 highest-ranking cities in the West and South perform well for population, business and housing growth and rank in the top quintile across the study.
- People are flocking to Enterprise, Nevada. From 2016 to 2021, the population in Enterprise grew by over 75%, helping it rank in the top fourth of our study overall – at No. 117. Three other cities grew by more than 30% during the same time period (New Braunfels, Texas; Meridian, Idaho and Goodyear, Arizona).
- In 22 boomtowns, the housing market grew by more than 24% in a five year span. From 2016 to 2021, the number of housing units grew by only 4.75% nationally. This figure is significantly higher for two of our top-ranking cities: Meridian, Idaho and New Braunfels, Texas. From 2016 to 2021, the number of housing units increased by 39.23% and 4.86% in those two cities, respectively.
1. Nampa, ID
Nampa, Idaho has continued to see positive growth and moves into the No. 1 spot in this year's edition. From 2016 to 2021, Nampa’s population, incomes and available housing has increased by 16.21%, 43.99% and 22.24%, respectively. Additionally, the county in which Nampa is located has the second-highest growth in the number of businesses (almost 30% from 2015 to 2020).
2. Meridian, ID
Last year, Meridian, Idaho ranked No. 3. This year, the city ranks in the top five cities for population growth (31.72%) and its increase in the number of available housing units (39.23%). Additionally, the county where Meridian is located ranks 18th-best for its five-year growth in the number of businesses (20.02%, since 2016) and 34th-best for average annual GDP growth (3.70%).
3. Murfreesboro, TN
Murfreesboro, Tennessee ranks in the top 15 cities for its five-year increases in housing units (31.47%) and population (19.38%). Workers in the city have also seen a 41.95% increase in income over the same time period (29th-best). The area encompassing Murfreesboro ranks 34th-best for its business growth between 2015 and 2020 (15.13%).
4. New Braunfels, TX
The top boomtown in Texas is New Braunfels, which has the second-highest population and housing growth between 2016 and 2021 (36.10% and 40.86%, respectively). Additionally, Comal County, where New Braunfels is located, has the eighth-highest business growth rate between 2015 and 2020 (23.94%) and average annual GDP growth has exceeded 4%.
5. Fort Myers, FL
The only Florida city in the top 10 is Fort Myers, Florida (who is also a newcomer to the top of the list this year). Fort Myers has seen a boom in population, incomes and housing over five-years beginning in 2016. First, the city’s population has increased by almost 20% (14th-highest). Next, workers have earned roughly 47% more over the same time period and the number of housing units has gone up by nearly 28%.
6. Conroe, TX
Conroe, Texas ranks highest in five-year housing growth taking the No. 22 spot for this metric (25.30%). The city’s population is also growing, increasing by 14.71% over the same time period, between 2016 and 2021. Conroe is located in Montgomery County which ranks in the top 30 for both its annual GDP and business growth rates.
7. Menifee, CA
The Menifee, California population has increased by roughly 20.21% to nearly 106,400 residents between 2016 and 2021 (ranking 12th-highest). Additionally, workers in this boomtown have experienced an increase of just over 42% in incomes. Housing availability has also boomed, rising by nearly 20% over the same five-year period.
8. Pasco, WA
Income in Pasco, Washington has seen nearly a 45% increase between 2016 and 2021, ranking 18th-highest for this metric. The city also ranks 21st-best for five-year population change, which has increased by 17.04% over the same time period. Business within the county where Pasco is located is also booming, as Franklin County has had a 18.33% increase in the number of businesses between 2015 and 2020.
9. Lewisville, TX
In Lewisville, Texas, there’s been nearly a 16% increase in the number of housing units available. The population in the area has grown by almost 8% and household incomes are up just over 30%. The county in which Lewisville is located is also doing well, ranking 10th-best for business growth and 21st-best for its annualized GDP growth rate.
10. Chino, CA
Chino, California ranks highest for its five-year housing and income growth (between 2016 and 2021). Specifically, the number of housing units has increased by almost 30% to 27,283 and median household income has increased by roughly 42% to $97,473. The population in Chino sits at just under 93,000.
Data and Methodology
To find the top boomtowns in the U.S. we analyzed data for 500 of the largest cities, of which 494 had available data. We looked at the most recent data available for each of the seven metrics listed below:
- Five-year population change. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2016 and 2021 1-year American Community Surveys and is at the city level.
- Average yearly GDP growth. This is the average yearly growth in total output for the three-year period from 2017 to 2020. Data comes from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and is at the county level.
- Five-year growth in number of businesses. This is the percentage change in the number of establishments from 2015 to 2020. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns Survey and is at the county level.
- Five-year change in number of housing units. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2016 and 2021 1-year American Community Surveys and is at the city level.
- September 2022 unemployment rate. Data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and is at the county level.
- One-year change in unemployment rate. This is the difference in the unemployment rate from September 2021 to September 2022. Data comes from the BLS and is at the county level.
- Five-year change in household income. This is the percentage change in the median household income. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2016 and 2021 1-year American Community Surveys and is at the city level.
We ranked each city in every metric, giving an equal weighting to all but two metrics: September 2022 unemployment rate and one-year change in unemployment rate metrics (both of which are half-weighted). We then found each city’s average ranking. The city with the best average ranking places first in our study while the city with the lowest average ranking places last.
Tips for Relocating to a Boomtown
- Know how far your income will stretch. Moving to a boomtown can be lucrative as you reap the benefits of local economic growth. However, before making a move, consider the financial implications on your budget. Use our cost of living calculator to understand how moving will impact your housing, food and tax costs.
- Consider your timing. “Moving to a boomtown at its earliest stages can be a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors, as there's still plenty of room for growth. And for those who are looking for a job, there are usually plenty of opportunities available in rapidly growing cities,” says Edith Reads, senior editor at TradingPlatforms. “However, if a city has already reached its peak, it may be too late to get in on the action. In this case, it may be wiser to wait until the city's growth slows down before making the move. This way, you can avoid getting caught in the midst of a housing or job crunch.”
- Work with an expert. Making a move is a major life decision and can change your ability to save for your future. A financial advisor can help you understand and mitigate the impact to your finances. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
Questions about our study? Contact email@example.com.
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