These Are the 50 Best Places in America for Starting a Business

Whether you're an entrepreneur plotting to launch a startup or a CEO strategizing where to put another office, knowing where the next hot city is would be a game changer. Should you expand to Raleigh? Would you attract better talent in Austin or Atlanta? With the new Surge Cities Index, Inc. and innovation policy company Startup Genome crunched the data to score and rank the top 50 metro areas in the U.S. on seven key indicators--from early-stage funding metrics to job creation. Finally, here’s the smartest way to answer the age-old question: Where should you go next?

How the Surge Cities Index Was Created: The Methodology

Over-the-year percent change in the number of jobs from Q1 2017 to Q1 2018.

Percentage growth from July 2016 to July 2017.

Over-the-year percent change in the number of business establishments from Q1 2017 to Q1 2018.

Percentage of adults who are entrepreneurs, including solo-preneurs, regardless of industry or employment status in the 2017 to 2018 period.

WAGE GROWTH Over-the-year percent change in average weekly earnings from Q1 2017 to Q1 2018.

Number of high-growth companies for every 100,000 adults, including only Inc. 5000 firms with $2 million in annual revenue and 20% year-over-year growth for three years in 2017 and 2018.

Number of early-stage funding deals for every 100,000 adults from October 2017 to October 2018.

Inc. has long believed there’s an alchemy that happens when fast-growing companies, innovative activity, and an entrepreneurial environment coalesce in a particular geographic space. Inc. and Startup Genome, an innovation policy company, partnered to create the Surge Cities Index, the definitive ranking of the geography of growth in the U.S.

The Inc. Surge Cities Scores are calculated for the largest 50 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the United States, according to February 28, 2013, Office of Management and Budget criteria. We use an equally weighted average of the normalized scores of seven metrics.

Once we had the seven normalized scores, the average composite index was then calculated for each MSA by computing an equally weighted average of the seven metrics. Finally, to compute the Surge Cities Score, each metropolitan area was ranked in order of its average composite index score.

*On specific metric rankings: When the data allowed for more detailed/precise metrics (e.g., 2 or 3 decimal points), we did not indicate ties. When the data was less exact, we did indicate ties.

Sources: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and U.S. Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program, Current Population Survey (CPS), American Community Survey (ACS), and Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, Startup Genome, PitchBook, Inc. 5000

Inc. logo
Startup Genome sponsor logo