Key Highlights

  • Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Indexjust released its annual rankings of nation’s powerhouse cities for 2021
  • Rankings reflect complete turnaround from coastal cities to smaller cities with cheaper housing costs and less density

Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index of 2021 Reflects 2020’s Impacts of COVID Pandemic

This annual ranking of the country’s powerhouse cities mirrors the happenings of 2020.  People surged out of expensive coastal cities and streamed into smaller cities throughout the country.  These big-city migrants were looking for more affordable housing costs and less dense surroundings.

From Hot to Cold Spots and From Cold to Hot Spots

The Milken Institute’s report stated, “The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on cities’ economic performance during the past year varied widely because of economic shutdowns to contain the spread of the virus were only fully implement in early pandemic hotspots like New York, Massachusetts and California, whereas summer and fall hotspots largely maintained normal levels of  activity.”

The  #1 hotspot city on the  Milken Institute’s 2020 ranking, San Francisco, didn’t even make this year’s list.

Rankings specify large and small city categories.

Top Large Powerhouse Cities (Tier I) on Milken Institute Best Performing Cities for 2021

  1. Provo UT
  2. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville FL
  3. Austin-Round Rock TX
  4. Salt Lake City UT
  5. Raleigh-Cary NC
  6. Boise ID
  7. Phoenix-Mesa-chandler AZ
  8. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin TN
  9. Ogden-Clearfield UT
  10. Huntsville AL
  11. Denver, Aurora-Lakewood CO
  12. Fort Collins CO
  13. Seattle, Bellevue-Kent WA

Top Small Powerhouse Cities (Tier I) on  Milken Institute Best Performing Cities for 2021

  1. Idaho Falls ID
  2. Logan UT-ID
  3. The Villages FL
  4. St. George UT
  5. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley AL
  6. Coeur d’Alene ID
  7. Sioux Falls SD
  8. Sebastian-Vero Beach FL
  9. Gainesville GA
  10. Charlottesville VA
  11. Punta Gorda FL
  12. Bellingham WA
  13. Bend OR


Thanks to Milken Institute


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