That small cities are becoming engines of economic growth is not surprising. Big cities have big problems, high taxes and huge deficits that are hungry for more tax dollars.
This year’s edition of Forbes’ Best Cities For Jobs survey, compiled with Pepperdine University’s Michael Shires, found that small and midsized metropolitan areas, with populations of 1 million or less, accounted for 27 of the 30 urban regions in the country that are adding jobs at the fastest rate. The three largest metropolitan statistical areas that made the top 30 — Austin, Houston and Salt Lake City — are themselves highly dispersed with sprawling employment sheds. Rather than the products of “smart growth” and intense densification, almost all of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas — including larger ones like Silicon Valley and Raleigh — tend to be dominated by suburban-style, single-family homes and utterly dependent on the greatest scourge of the urbanist creed: the private car. But many of the smaller areas also punch above their weight in myriad ways, spanning a host of industries.
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