Phoenix Jumped 5 Slots on the Milken Institute's List of Best-Performing Cities 2021

view of phoenix arizona from afar

First, who is the Milken Institute?  According to their report, "The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank. We catalyze practical, scalable solutions to global challenges by connecting human, financial, and educational resources to those who need themOur goal is to help people build meaningful lives in which they can experience health and well-being, pursue effective education and gainful employment, and access the resources required to create ever-expanding opportunities for themselves and their broader communities."

I was informed of this list through one of my many real estate resources.  It might have been our local Association of Realtors® or one of the many real estate newsletters and organizations/groups I belong to.

In the report, Phoenix is considered a Tier 1 Large City  

Large metros have a population of over 250,000 residents.  There are 200 large metros used for this list, but both large and small areas were divided into 5 Tiers - Tier 1 being the highest.  Milken Institute also ranks (or indexes) small metros with populations over 60,000 - 201 small metros are used.

What is actually indexed?  This is not just real estate data.  They index job and wage growth, high-tech GDP, and the number of high-tech industries.  I was surprised to see "Households with broadband access."  And then we come to households with affordable housing costs.

Number 1 on the List

Can you guess?  I wouldn't have been able to.  It's Provo-Orem, Utah, who jumped from 2nd place in 2020 to the number 1 spot in 2021.

So here are the top 10 large metro areas:

  1. Provo-Orem, Utah - jumped 1 spot
  2. Palm Bay, Florida - not sure I've ever heard of Palm Bay, gained 8 ranks
  3. Austin, Texas - maintained 3rd place
  4. Salt Lake City, Utah - went up 21 ranks
  5. Raleigh, North Carolina - went up 6 spots
  6. Boise, Idaho - went up one rank
  7. Phoenix, Arizona - gained 5 ranks
  8. Nashville, Tennessee - went up 6 ranks
  9. Ogden, Utah - gained 13 ranks
  10. Huntsville, Alabama - gained a whopping 39 ranks

More Data on Phoenix Metro

The report also lists assets and liabilities for each metro area.  It's just a short blurb on the report.

Phoenix's assets are strong population and employment growth, plus the fact that the high-tech industry is continuing to be diversified.

Phoenix shares its liability with others on the top list.  Since these top metro areas have become so popular due to their positive growth, housing affordability is becoming an issue.  This includes the cost of rent and housing.

Flagstaff had one of the biggest drops in the Small City Category

Flagstaff, AZ dropped 82 slots comparing 2020 to 2021.  The report states that cities with the largest drops were hit hard by the pandemic and employment drops, coupled with high housing prices.

Tucson Went Up on the List

Tucson, Arizona, is considered a Tier 2 city and went up 36 spots this year.  In 2020 it was 77 on the list, in 2021 it jumped to number 41.

Arizona Cities on the Small Metros List

  • Lake Havasu City, AZ - jumped from 48 last year to 16 this year - Tier 2
  • Prescott Valley, AZ - went down the ranks from 18 in 2020 to 25 in 2021 - Tier 2
  • Yuma, AZ - went down 2 ranks from 64-66 - Tier 3
  • Sierra Vista, AZ jumped from 161 in 2020 to 100 in 2021 - Tier 3
  • Flagstaff, as mentioned, took a dive of 82 slots, putting it in Tier 4

The Tiers are as follows: - Tier 1 goes from 1-13, Tier 2 goes from 14-53, Tier 3 is from 54-120, Tier 4 is 121-183, and Tier 5 is 184-201 for the small metros.

See the full report here - you can download it as a pdf.

Posted by Judy Orr on
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