Economy report: The most resilient cities in the U.S.


Some areas have fared better than others during the recession. How does your region stack up?

Is a frigid climate crucial to the success of your veterinary practice? According to new research conducted by the University at Buffalo, Rochester, Minn., is one of a handful of areas most likely to come out of the next economic recession, natural disaster or other regional “shock” relatively unscathed. Other major cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, and Pittsburgh also fare well on the list—but Los Angeles, Miami, and Las Vegas do not.

While Rochester topped the list, College Station-Bryan, Texas, finished last, as determined by a new online tool, which measures more than 360 U.S. metro areas for their capacity to weather acute and chronic stresses. These stresses range from gradual economic decline to rapid population gains to earthquakes and floods.

The Resilience Capacity Index (RCI), developed by Kathryn A. Foster, director of the University at Buffalo’s Regional Institute, produces a single statistic for each region based on its performance across 12 economic, socio-demographic and community connectivity indicators. Foster developed the index as part of Building Resilient Regions, a national network of experts on metropolitan. Click here to view the complete list.

Overall, Northeastern and Midwestern regions tend to be more resilient than those in the South or West, largely because these regions earn high scores for affordability, the size of their health-insured population, rates of homeownership, and metropolitan stability, as measured by recent population change.

Across the three categories of regional capacity, the top-scoring metros are geographically diverse. Raleigh, N.C., scores well with leading technology firms, medical centers and universities, heads the economic category. Ames, Iowa, ranks first for socio-demographic capacity due to its exceptionally high level of educational attainment. For community connectivity, Bismarck, N.D., scores highest, given its critical mass of civic institutions as the state capital.

Metropolitan areas with populations over 1 million vary widely in their resilience capacity. The top-ranking large metropolitan area, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., achieves its status with high socio-demographic capacity and levels of community connection, the latter reflecting the region’s No. 1 rank for voter participation. The lowest ranking large metropolitan area is Miami, a region with low regional affordability and income equality.

Researchers caution that a region’s RCI score is not necessarily a sentence for success or failure in the face of the next population boom, economic recession, or industry shutdown. But it does reveal that some regions are structurally more prepared than others and have greater capacity to bounce back in the wake of stress.

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