Predicting the fastest growing American cities for the next 40 years

Forbes has a new list of what they think will be the fastest growing cities in the United States in the next 40 years. Not surprisingly, the top 5 are all in the South and West. Perhaps surprisingly, these cities are “little big cities,” places that grown in the last few decades and are poised for new growth. Here are the top cities for growth: Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Austin, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Antonio, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Forbes says they are using a different methodology to select these cities:

In developing this list we have focused on many criteria–affordability, ease of transport and doing business–that are often ignored on present and future “best places” lists. Yet ultimately it is these often mundane things, not grandiose projects or hyped revivals of small downtown districts, that drive talented people and companies to emerging places.

This methodology seems to emphasize “softer factors” like affordability and quality of life. I almost wish we could just fast forward forty years to see how accurate this is. What would others predict and what factors would they use?

But I can see some of the logic. These places offer some of the amenities of the big city and are vibrant places where things are happening. Couple this with affordable homes, some jobs, and less congestion and I could see how it is appealing. Additionally, 8 out of the top 10 are in the South and West – only Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana are outside these regions. It would make sense that the growing areas of the country are the places where these mid-sized cities are growing.

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