The cities with the most momentum going into 2014

by Ryan Streeter on December 28, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Joel Kotkin and Mark Schill assess the cities with the strongest momentum going into 2014 by analyzing economic and demographic strength.

In combining demographic indicators with economic ones, they assumeĀ “that strong local economies attract the most people and create the best conditions for family formation, which in turn generates new demand.”

These types of analyses always depend on the indicators you pick and the weight you assign them. Kotkin writes:

To gauge economic vitality, we used four metrics: GDP growth, job growth, real median household income growth and current unemployment. To measure demographic strength we looked at population growth, birth rate, domestic migration and the change in educational attainment. All factors were weighted equally.

Read the whole thing, which shows continued dominance by Sun Belt hubs. In general, they find that lower-cost places that don’t depend on a predominant company or industry have fared well:

Looking across the board, it seems likely that the best places to look for work, or invest, will be those that have diversified their economies, kept costs down and attracted a broad cross-section of migrants from other parts of the country. These may not all be the favored cities of the media, or the pundit class, but they are the places offering a variety of positives to residents at every stage of life. These balanced regions are the places employers and families are most likely to flock to.

Here’s the top 25:

Screen Shot 2013-12-28 at 4.30.25 AM

Adding the demographic indicators creates some interesting dynamics. In Kotkin’s recent analysis of top cities for tech, Indianapolis ranked 9th, but it ranks 22nd on the list above. Nashville, on the other hand, ranks 4th on the tech list and 5th above. Indianapolis has high birth rates comparatively, but low rates of immigration, while Nashville has a much higher immigration rate.