Small City Dynamism Index

As a consultant who often works in smaller communities, I get regularly frustrated by the absence of good (and updated) comparative economic data on small and mid-sized places.  Most national benchmarking studies look primarily at large metros—examples include many excellent studies from the Brookings Metropolitan Studies Program and the Kauffman Foundation.  (For example, Pittsburgh is the smallest community profiled in Kauffman’s new Metro Start-Up Index.)  So, I’m very excited to see a new tool developed by the Atlanta Federal Reserve:  the Small City Economic Dynamism Index.   This excellent new on-line tool tracks economic dynamism (using 29 different measures)  in 244 smaller U.S. cities, from Abilene TX to Yuma AZ and lots of places in between.  The tool focuses on four categories of dynamism—population (e.g. growth and in-migration), economics (job and income growth), human capital (college attainment, new firms), and infrastructure (e.g., new building permits).   Personally, I’d like to see more data related to business dynamics, but I also recognize that much of this data doesn’t exist in usable forms.  So, consider this a minor quibble.  For those seeking to understand what’s driving economies outside of our major metros, this resource is a great place to start.

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