Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Nashville ranked as 8th best-performing city.

By Rod Williams - Nashville’s economy is the eights best-performing in the United States according to a new analysis from the Milken Institute. The ranking comes from Milken’s annual Best-Performing Cities Index, a comparison of the 200 largest metro areas that the economic think tank has released annually since 1999. All of these 200 cities have a populations greater than 300,000.  

Milken uses its index to track which parts of the country are creating the best economic opportunities. The analysis places a heavy emphasis on job creation and wage growth as well as concentration of high-tech industries and for the first time it included housing affordability, and household broadband access.  Accorded the the report:
The pandemic and the inclusion of the housing affordability factor and broadband access has cause quire a bit of change in the index from previous years. San Francisco, last year’s top-ranked city, fell to No. 24 in 2021, while San Jose fell to No. 22 from No. 5 in 2020. Prior to the pandemic, living in the Bay Area, Silicon Valley, and other coastal metros (including Los Angeles and San Diego in Southern California) was becoming increasingly cost-prohibitive, as shown in Figure 9. Shifts to remote work during the pandemic have thus led to out-migration from these cities among many higher-wage workers in high-tech industries,

Last year Nashville was number 14 on the list and this year we are number 8. The top 13 cities on the list are considered "tier 1" cities.   Below is the page from the report describing Nashville: 

This list show the Tier 1 cities:

Austin, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina with which we are sometimes compared as in the same competitive class also make the Tier 1 list at position 3 and 5 respectively. Other cities with which we sometimes are compared include Charlotte at position 26.

Chattanooga makes the list as a tier 3 large city ranked at number 62.   Memphis is a tier 4 large city ranked 166. Kingsport, TN comes in as tier 5 large city ranked 181. Knoxville does not make the list.

Atlanta, Georgia is ranked at 21.

New Orleans is ranked at 195. The only reason I am calling attention to New Orleans is because my daughter and her family lived there until recently and I visited often and know the city.

The Milkin study also ranks 201 small cities.  Cleveland, TN makes the cut as a Tier 3 small city at position 58 and Jackson, TN makes comes in as a Tier 4 small city with a rank of 132. No other Tennessee small cities make the list. 

While I am proud of Nashville and Tennessee and always pleased to see either my city or state ranked high on some list, this list ranks economic vitality; it does not rank quality of life.   I do not share the passion to grow just for the sake of growth.  In my view, I would have been pleased if we would have stopped growing a few years ago.  Along with more growth can come more traffic congestion, less affordable housing, higher taxes, more crime, more social problems, a faster pace of life, and a loss of local character. 

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