9 Cities Where All of America Wants to Live

Are you stuck in a rut in your residence city of choice and ready to take your talents elsewhere? We consulted Bloomberg‘s boomtown cities data to find where America’s movers and shakers are flocking to. As explained in the report’s overview, Bloomberg took the United States’ 360 metropolitan statistical areas and ranked them on their population and real GDP growth from 2007 to 2011. The 25 MSAs that showed an increase in both were singled out.

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Here are some more details on the methodology: “MSAs were ranked on population growth and real GDP compound annual growth and given a corresponding point score of 1 to 100 in each factor. The scores were added together and were divided by the highest possible total to create the score. Included MSAs with at least 1 million residents as of 2011. Census population estimates were as of July 1, 2007 and July 1, 2011.

Here are the top nine outlined for you:

9. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/31246066@N04/
This is the first MSA highlighted on our list, coming in at #9. While the area’s population grew a steady 4.02 percent from 2007 to 2011, its striking real GDP growth is what affords the MSA its high rank among the biggest boomtowns. The area’s GDP grew 5.23 percent, representing the highest growth on the list, by far.  There is only one other place in the collection whose GDP growth comes even close to Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton’s, and that area comes further down on our list.

8. Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dylan20/

Next up we have Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin at #8. This MSA posts a much lower real GDP growth of 1.37 percent, but its population growth helps it redeem itself. The area grew 6.29 percent from 2007 to 2011, reflecting that its slower GDP increase is not keeping people away.

7. Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma city

This MSA posts numbers similar to the #8 biggest boomtown. Like the thriving area in Tennessee, Oklahoma City’s population growth expanded considerably at 7.13 percent. Its GDP growth held steady at 1.44 percent, but is still almost a full four percentage points lower than the area that claimed the #9 spot. Bloomberg notes that the city is also putting the 15th most money into home improvement, which might help clear up what people are doing once they settle down in Oklahoma City.

6. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

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President Obama’s home base is the next MSA on our list at #6. The area has an even greater growth than its predecessor on the list at 7.49 percent, representing a trend that will only continue as we make our way to #1. The city’s real GDP growth is also on the incline at a respectable 1.46 percent. Not only is this MSA the sixth biggest boomtown, but it also hosts the sixth busiest airport for international travel. Hopefully, all those herding into the city aren’t planning on moving out anytime soon.

5. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX

Houston

Coming in at #5 is a big Texas town, ya’ll. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown claims the fifth spot on the list with a population growth increase from 2007 to 2011 of 8.15 percent. Its real GDP growth continues to inch above its neighbors on the list, and is actually higher than the two cities that claim the #3 and #4 spots. This Texas city posts a 1.55 percent GDP growth, and also boasts the title of the 15th city most recession-resistant. Because everything’s better in Texas.

4. San Antonio

San Antonio

Speaking of Texas, Houston’s neighbor to the west, San Antonio, just surpasses its Lone State relative on the list. What San Antonio lacks in its GDP growth (1.47 percent), it makes up for in its population growth. The city’s population grew 10.26 percent from 2007 to 2011, more than two full percentage points higher than Houston. It doesn’t come as a big surprise that two of the top booming cities are in Texas, as the state is not only the second largest in the United States, but also the second most populous. Ignoring the fact that San Antonio is the tenth city with the most noncitizen homeowners, it is evident that many Americans like their life Southern style.

3. Raleigh-Cary, NC

Raleigh

The first city that makes our top three is one that may still have some Southern charm, but is still north to its neighbors on the list. Raleigh-Cary takes on the #3 biggest boomtown distinction, posting a huge population growth of 11.06 percent. Its real GDP growth is still smaller than that of Houston, but its significant population increase secures it its #3 rank. It is North Carolina’s second biggest city and also hosts several big-name universities.

2. New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA

New Orleans

We go back down to the deep South for the #2 spot with New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner. This area’s population growth blows each of the other city’s out of the water, even our #1 rank. Its population grew 15.6 perent from 2007 to 2011, a full four percentage points higher than both of the cities that flank it on the list. Its real GDP annual growth is still higher than those cities mentioned before it, at 2 percent, but the city that holds the status as #1 biggest boomtown in the U.S. far surpasses it.

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1. Austin-Round Rock, TX

Austin Texas

And that area is Austin-Round Rock, TX — another Lone State metropolis. But what affords the city this high honor: its population growth or its real GDP growth? The answer is a combination of both. Austin boasts a GDP growth of 3.26 percent, a full 1.26 percentage points higher than its biggest competitor on the list, New Orleans. The city that comes in at 25th place on Bloomberg’s Biggest Boomtowns list, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, only posts a 0.32-percent real GDP increase, to keep things in perspective. Austin also demonstrates a major population growth of 11.6 percent. It may be smaller than New Orleans’s 15.6, but is still significantly greater than Pittsburgh’s 0.17 percent.

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So there you have it. Now if you’re wondering about America’s new hot spots, you know where to look. And if you still need a hint, go in the direction of Texas.

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