After Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey left a path of devastation through Florida, Texas and the Islands; economic growth is expected to slow in the short term. With that said WalletHub conducted a study, which found four Florida cities to be among the fastest-growing cities in the U.S.
While there is no “right” way to increase economic growth, there are patterns that help identify the contributing factors that extend a long cycle of growth. For the Fastest-Growing Cities in America study, the personal finance website compared 515 U.S. cities across 15 key metrics to observe growth over a period of seven years. Data collected ranged from population growth to college-educated population growth to unemployment rate decrease.
Lehigh Acres, located in South Florida, is the third fastest-growing city in the U.S. The city is third in ‘Sociodemographics’ and 65th in ‘Jobs & Economy’ ranks. Sociodemographics included:
- Population Growth: Double Weight (~25.00 points)
- Working-Age Population Growth: Full Weight (~12.50 points)
Note: “Working-Age Population” includes individuals aged 16 to 64.
- College-Educated Population Growth: Full Weight (~12.50 points)
The jobs and economy rank included looking at:
- Job Growth: Double Weight (~3.70 points)
- Increase in Ratio of Full-Time to Part-Time Jobs: Half Weight (~1.85 points)
- Median Household Income Growth: Full Weight (~3.70 points)
- Unemployment Rate Decrease: Full Weight (~3.70 points)
- Poverty Rate Decrease: Full Weight (~3.70 points)
- Growth in Regional GDP per Capita: Double Weight (~7.41 points)
- Increase in Number of Businesses: Full Weight (~3.70 points)
- Increase in Number of Startups: Full Weight (~3.70 points)
- Increase in Venture Capital Investment Amount: Full Weight (~3.70 points)
- Median House Price Growth: Full Weight (~3.70 points)
- Building-Permit Activity Growth: Full Weight (~3.70 points)
- Foreclosure Rate Decrease: Full Weight (~3.70 points)
Fort Myers (seventh), Cape Coral (15th) and Boynton Beach (19th) were other Florida cities included in the top 30 fastest-growing cities.
In a further breakdown, Lehigh Acres is third in ‘midsize cities with the highest growth’ and third in ‘highest population growth.’ Fort Myers tied for first in ‘highest poverty rate decrease’ and tied for first in ‘highest job growth.’