Discover 10 US Cities Stacking Wealth the Fastest

econimical crisis concept due to coronavirus COVID-19 spread in the world, virus curve up, economy down
© Song_about_summer/Shutterstock.com

Written by Sam Hindman

Published: July 24, 2023

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Many consider 2022 to be the first full year that the United States has functioned economically post-pandemic. Because of this, many of the nation’s metropolitan areas received a huge boost in their respective economies. According to the 2022 version of the Kenan Institute American Growth Project, some of the fastest-growing US cities saw a near 5% increase in GDP.

But which city in the fifty states rose above the rest and saw the highest increase in wealth during this short period? In this article, that’s exactly what we’ll determine. Read on to discover the ten fastest-growing US cities and learn just how far they’ve come.

What is GDP?

econimical crisis concept due to coronavirus COVID-19 spread in the world, virus curve up, economy down

2022 was the first year the United States economy had to begin recovering from the Coronavirus pandemic.

©Song_about_summer/Shutterstock.com

Before we begin listing the fastest-growing cities in the US, we should first describe our parameters as clearly as possible. The measurement that is utilized to determine economic growth is, more often than not, GDP. We’ll also use this measurement for our intents and purposes today.

GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product. It’s a comprehensive measure of an economy’s overall production of goods and services. GDP conveys the full value of all the goods and services created and distributed over a specific time period within the borders of a country.

This can be calculated using three different approaches:

  1. Production Approach: GDP is calculated as the total value of all goods and services produced within an economy.
  2. Income Approach: This method calculates GDP by totaling the incomes earned by all factors of production in an economy, including wages paid to workers and profits earned by businesses.
  3. Expenditure Approach: The expenditure method calculates GDP as the sum of all the money spent in an economy.

Bear in mind that while GDP is a useful tool for economic analysis, it doesn’t capture everything. It doesn’t measure income distribution or consider the sustainability of growth, for example, and it doesn’t account for the value of unpaid work.

Now that we have a solid understanding of the criteria for the fastest-growing US cities let’s begin our list with the city that’s garnered the highest growth in GDP.

1. San Francisco Bay Area, California

San Francisco skyline and Bay Bridge at sunset, California

Due to San Francisco’s bustling tech scene, it ranked #1 of the fastest-growing US cities in 2022.

©IM_photo/Shutterstock.com

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated innovation in technology above all else. Suddenly, everything from K-12 schooling to the day-to-day work of an office employee had to take place at home VIA computer. Luckily, there were quite a few technological advancements that came into play at just the right time. For this reason, it’s no wonder that Silicon Valley faced a 4.8% increase in GDP in 2022.

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to a slew of technological companies, from startups to well-known corporate giants. And, unfortunately, its stellar ranking isn’t only an indicator of good news for the area. The increasingly competitive demand to live in San Francisco has resulted in some not-so-good side effects. These include things like extreme layoffs and hiring freezes, a rapidly declining housing market, and a number of native residents forced out from rent spikes.

2. Austin, Texas

Austin Texas USA sunrise skyline cityscape over Town Lake or Lady Bird Lake with amazing reflection. Skyscrapers and Texas capital building in distance you can see the entire city during summer

$349,156 in 2020, the median cost of a family-sized home in Austin has increased to $566,479 in 2022.

©Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock.com

Speaking of Silicon Valley, the city of Austin, Texas has been regarded as the next-best thing for tech corporations settling on a place to call home. Companies including Google, Tesla, and Amazon have extended their enterprises into this city. It’s likely that the warm weather and the large number of venture capital opportunities are what led these giants, and their money, to the city of Austin. Because of that money, Austin found itself with a 4.3% increase in GDP in 2022.

Unfortunately, it seems that the companies that fled San Francisco because of its oversaturated population may have brought with them the very same problems they were evading. The median home price in Austin has jumped over $200,000 from 2020 to 2022, with the new average being greater than half a million dollars. This, in combination with rent rising 10% each year, has greatly gentrified an area that used to be regarded as relatively affordable.

3. Seattle, Washington

Cityscape view of the Seattle skyline with Interstate 5 on a sunny summer morning under a blue sky - June 2022

Seattle prides itself on being one of America’s clean energy leaders.

©Ian Dewar Photography/Shutterstock.com

There are a number of reasons why Seattle, Washington would find itself on our list of the fastest-growing US cities. A pioneer in a number of industries, from biotechnology to software, the city has a bountiful economy that garnered a 3.5% GDP increase in 2022. But, perhaps the most notable reason its wealth has grown so much is due to it being solidified as one of the nation’s clean energy leaders.

Signing a Green New Deal in September of 2022, the city has led several efforts to bring clean energy to not only themselves but the US as a whole. Many college graduates seeking a job oriented around the environment find themselves in Seattle, where there are a number of prospects for that profession. Fortunately, this job market seems to only be growing as time passes.

4. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

Raleigh, NC is lovely in the spring.

An under-invested industry in other parts of the US, Raleigh has $1 billion of biotech laboratory construction in the works.

©iStock.com/Mark Howard

The greater Raleigh area houses what is referred to as The Research Triangle. This area, encompassing Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina, is a biotechnological paradise. An industry that has been facing unfortunate cuts in other parts of the nation, the biotech scene in Raleigh seems to be inversely growing stronger each day. In fact, over $1 billion of biotech-related construction is currently in progress.

This progressivism has led to the city’s 3.4% GDP increase in 2022, but it’s not slowing down there. Expressing its intention of spending $1 billion on its very first East Coast campus, soon Apple will be bringing its power and wealth to the city as it continues to rise and expand.

5. Dallas, Texas

Map of the USA with pin set on Dallas.

Dallas had the highest population growth of any metropolitan area during the peak months of COVID-19.

©Eivaisla/Shutterstock.com

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has been booming for quite some time, with positive population growth every year since 1950. There are a number of profitable industries based in the area, including 19 Fortune 500 companies. These include Exxon Mobil, Southwest Airlines, and even the internet conglomerate AT&T. For all of these reasons, it lands the middle spot on our list of the fastest-growing US cities at a 3.1% GDP increase in 2022.

6. Denver, Colorado

DENVER road sign

71% of millennials living in Denver grew up in the city and decided to return.

©Pincasso/Shutterstock.com

Coming in at 6th on our list, Denver, Colorado received a 3.0% GDP increase in 2022. There are quite a few speculated reasons for Denver’s growth, with a common assumption being people want to get away from more urban areas. That being said, the city has a knack for one thing in particular- retention.

A study in August of 2022 found that 71% of the millennials who grew up in Denver returned to the city by the time they were 26. An abundance of trendy industries thrive in the city, which explains the young locals.

7. Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah, had a 2.8% increase in GDP in 2022.

©Joe Guetzloff/Shutterstock.com

Ranking 7th, Salt Lake City, Utah, experienced a 2.8% increase in GDP in 2022. Multiple theories have been floated around to explain this economic boost, a popular one being the city’s appeal to those seeking a balance between urban conveniences and outdoor adventures. The city is a hotspot for a myriad of emerging sectors, explaining its youthful energy. The robust tech scene, often dubbed the “Silicon Slopes,” attracts many young professionals, thereby enhancing the city’s economic vitality.

8. Charlotte, North Carolina

The cherry blossoms in Charlotte are an annual springtime treat.

Charlotte, NC, is the second-largest banking center in the US.

©iStock.com/Jason M. Hazard

In Q2 of 2022, the city of Charlotte, NC, added nearly 20,000 jobs. A little-known fact about the city is that it’s the second-largest banking center in the United States. It’s home to Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Truist Financial. However, that isn’t the only bustling industry in Charlotte! Healthcare, education, and manufacturing are also on the rise in the city.

9. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans streetcar

The city of New Orleans faced a 6% increase in its hospitality services industry while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

©f11photo/Shutterstock.com

New Orleans, Louisiana, has seen a significant economic rebound, with a 2.5% rise in GDP in 2022. The resurgence is primarily driven by the strong recovery of the tourism sector post-COVID, contributing significantly to the city’s economic improvement. From August 2021 to August 2022, the city’s leisure and hospitality services industry expanded by 6%. This being said, however, the city is still dealing with its new title as the home to the most homicides per capita.

10. Orlando, Florida

Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida

A 1/3 of Orlando, Florida’s economy is tourism.

©Clément Bardot / CC BY-SA 4.0 – Original / License

The home of Disney, Universal, and Sea World, it’s no shock that one-third of the Orlando economy is from tourism. This industry, of course, took a major hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, in 2022, numbers spiked as the state recovered. In a tie with New Orleans, Orlando experienced a 2.4% increase in GDP in 2022.

Summary of the 10 US Cities Stacking Wealth the Fastest

RankCity2022 GDP Growth
1.San Francisco Bay Area, CA4.8%
2.Austin, TX4.3%
3.Seattle, WA3.5%
4.Raleigh and Durham, NC3.4%
5.Dallas, TX3.1%
6.Denver, CO3.0%
7.Salt Lake City, UT2.8%
8.Charlotte, NC2.5%
9.New Orleans, LA2.4%
10.Orlando, FL2.4%
Summary of the 10 US Cities Stacking Wealth the Fastest


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About the Author

Sam Hindman is a writer at A-Z animals covering a range of topics, including pet care, plant care, pest control and travel destinations. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Multimedia Studies at Point Park University, set to graduate in the spring of 2024. A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when she isn't writing, she's spending time with her beloved cat Archie.

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