Most Prosperous Cities in America

Many U.S. cities have made big strides in growth and prosperity over a decade, boosting wages and productivity. But not everyone has reaped the benefits.

Many indicators of the U.S. economy -- low unemployment, rising GDP, stock market performance -- point to good times overall. But not everyone is reaping the benefits: Inclusive economic growth is apparently rare in American cities, according to a recent report by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

The report, Metro Monitor 2019, analyzes trends for the 100 largest U.S. metro areas in growth (size and dynamism of the regional economy), prosperity (average wealth and income the regional economy produces), inclusion (how changes in growth and prosperity are distributed among the region's individuals and households), and racial inclusion (whether regional changes in inclusion expand or narrow differences, such as wages, by race and ethnicity).

Looking at the most prosperous cities across the decade from 2007 to 2017, most of the 100 largest metro areas achieved greater prosperity in 2017 than 2007, though progress was uneven, the report says.

Compared to 2007, 83 metro areas had higher productivity, 95 had higher average wages, and 65 had a higher standard of living in 2017.

Leading tech hubs such as Austin, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Seattle saw some of the strongest prosperity gains over the decade.

As for growth, the fastest-growing metro areas over the 10-year period includes these tech hubs and other emerging tech cities. But other cities have not not fully recovered from the job losses in manufacturing that occurred before and during the recession.

In contrast to their progress in growth and prosperity over the 10 years, metro areas showed uneven outcomes on inclusion, which addresses how all this growth and prosperity are distributed among individuals. Inclusive growth means more people in the area invest in their skills and purchase more goods and services. This in turn contributes to the prosperity of the area. Of 100 metros, 72 achieved declines in relative poverty.

Lastly, 16 metro areas saw notable increases in racial gaps for median earnings. A few metro areas, such as Des Moines, Iowa, El Paso, Texas, and Spokane, Wash. managed to close the racial earnings and poverty gaps due to strong employment growth for non-white groups.

Based on the Metro Monitor 2019, these are the most prosperous cities in the U.S. over the decade of 2007-2017.

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