Boom Boom

Austin is ‘nearly perfect’ in latest ranking of America’s dream cities

Austin is ‘nearly perfect’ in latest ranking of America’s dream cities

JW Marriott Austin hotel Congress Avenue 2015
Austin's growth has made it the No. 1 boomtown in the U.S. JW Marriott Austin/Facebook

News alert: Austin is growing, y'all. In a new report released on August 6, personal finance website MagnifyMoney ranked America's biggest boomtowns. Not only did Austin top the list, but it received near-perfect scores in some categories. 

Using data from 2011-2016 (the most recently available), the website ranked the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., looking for the newest cities of opportunity. "We wanted to find out where Americans are gathering now to take advantage of growing prosperity and improved lifestyles to achieve the American dream," the report notes. 

To determine the rankings, MagnifyMoney defined the three key "boom" factors as:  

  • Business growth — Analyzing the creation of new business, but also understanding how established businesses fare in the wake of the boom. 
  • Population and housing — Matching the number of people moving to an area to the availability of housing in the market.  
  • Workforce and earnings — Comparing the number of residents to the availability of jobs in the city.

Austin scored an overall 87.8, including a perfect 100 in population and housing, to earn the No. 1 place. Strangely, the study does note that the population growth (16 percent) is larger than available housing growth (10 percent). Despite the deficit, Austin was still the most progressive compared to the other cities, earning it the top spot. 

The city also scored a respectable 93 in business growth "thanks to a 21 percent increase in the number of businesses and a 24 percent increase in the number of employees those firms hired." The study also points to the Capital City's drop in unemployment (23 percent), an increase in business (21 percent), and increase in hiring (24 percent) as reasons for its boomtown status. 

Where else are people pursuing the American dream? Rounding out the top five cities is Provo, Utah (2); Raleigh, North Carolina (3); Charleston, South Carolina (4); and good ol' Nashville, Tennessee (5).

In total, Texas cities dominated the boomtown list, claiming four of the top 10 spots. Next on the list is Dallas at No. 7, followed by San Antonio (No. 9) and McAllen (No. 10). At No. 11, Houston just barely missed getting a top spot. 

America's least boom-iest city? That honor goes to Scranton, Pennsylvania. Syracuse, New York; New Haven, Connecticut; Cleveland; and Hartford, Connecticut make up the remaining bottom five.