Reported GDP in 2009: $17 billion
Reported GDP today: $18.4 billion
Population change 2000-10: 0.3%
It's not all of the sun-baked fellows in the galleries yelling "It's in the hole" at the Masters Tournament or the tourists getting a taste of the city's powerfully hot summers that have kept the city growing and its unemployment numbers on the wane since 2009. Instead, Augusta steeled itself against the recession in the best way a city can -- by building its economy around a recession-proof industry. In Augusta's case, the medical, biotech and military communities provided a stable base as the rest of Georgia crashed. The state's unemployment mark still sits at 9.8%, above the national average, but a large medical community and an Army Signal Corps facility allowed Augusta to keep its cool.