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Best-Performing Cities 2023: Thriving in a Changing Economic Landscape

The Milken Institute’s annual Best-Performing Cities (BPC) rankings provide an objective framework for evaluating the relative performance of US cities. Despite the impact of COVID-19, US cities continue to serve as the primary hubs of economic activity. The rankings for this year are primarily based on 2021 data, offering an assessment of cities' performance amidst the rapidly changing social, demographic, and economic landscape following the initial year of the pandemic. Along with the rankings, the BPC report provides valuable insights into the short- and medium-term factors that contribute to the success of the top-performing (Tier 1)-ranked small and large cities.

This year, three trends have emerged.

  1. Cities' performance is closely linked to job and wage growth, which is primarily driven by the expansion of high-tech industries.

  2. While large cities tend to have a stronger presence of high-tech industries, the fastest growth in this sector was observed in the top-ranked small cities.

  3. With the resumption of travel and tourism throughout 2021, the leisure and hospitality industry played a crucial role in driving the highest improvements in this year's rankings.

Find out how our Community Explorer tool provides detailed information on the populations in counties within the metropolitan areas covered in the BPC report.