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Austin tops Forbes' list of America's Fastest Growing Cities for third year in a row

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Austin ranks No. 1 on Forbes' list of "America's Fastest Growing Cities." Photo by Stu Seeger

Austin ranks No. 1 on Forbes' recently released list of "America's 20 Fastest Growing Cities."

Published Wednesday, Forbes took the 100 most populous Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and ranked the "20 fastest growing metro areas in America in terms of population and economy."

Rankings were based on the following metrics: population growth for 2012, projected population growth for 2013, job growth in 2012, rate of gross metro product growth for 2012, federal unemployment and median salaries for college-educated workers.

The Capital City landed at No. 1 on the list for the third time in a row. Forbes' attributes this to Austin's diverse economic landscape, from the University of Texas to a growing startup culture:

Thanks to the 51,000-student University of Texas at Austin, a bevy of Silicon Hills startups like Sparefoot.com, and the presence of mega corporations like Whole Foods and Dell (in nearby Round Rock), the Lone Star State’s capital is an economic powerhouse. With an estimated annual population growth rate of 3% for 2012 and 2013, a 3% rate of job growth in 2012, 4.9% unemployment, and an economy that expanded 6.3% last year, Austin takes the top spot on Forbes’ annual list of America’s Fastest Growing Cities for the third year in a row.

Austin was followed by No. 2 Houston and No. 3 Dallas. On Texas' high rankings, Forbes stated:

Perhaps not surprisingly, cities in Texas — which welcomed more than 427,000 newcomers from August 2011 to July 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — dominated our list. Houston ranked second, behind Austin, followed by Dallas in third place and San Antonio in ninth. Robust labor markets, unemployment rates under 6% (well below the national average), no state income tax, a business-friendly regulatory environment, and strong population inflows all contributed to Texas towns’ high rankings.

Texas cities are followed on the list by No. 4 Raleigh, North Carolina and No. 5 Salt Lake City, Utah.

See the full list of America's Fastest Growing Cities here.

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