Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Idaho Falls ranks first on list of Best-Performing Small Cities

Idaho Falls has topped this year’s list of Best-Performing Small Cities released by the Milken Institute Center for Regional Economics, which produces research, programs and events designed to inform and activate innovative economic and policy solutions to drive job creation and industry expansion.

The city moved up six spots to No. 1 based on the area’s job growth and high-tech industry presence, including Idaho National Laboratory and Battelle Energy Alliance.

“As we discovered through our rankings, cities perform best when they pursue innovative strategies that allow high-tech industries to grow while still providing affordable costs of living,” said Misael Galdamez, Milken’s senior policy analyst and a co-author of the report. “This alignment provides a foundation for metro areas to become more resilient to economic shocks.” 

"Being included in the Milken Institute’s Index among small cities comes as a high honor because these rankings are based on meaningful data,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “Idaho Falls has been focused on connectivity and housing—two of the Milken Institute’s new categories for consideration. The pandemic caused everyone to realize how important connectivity is for the future. People need not be tethered to desirable jobs in large cities as they once were; instead, they’re relocating to places like Idaho Falls that give them a better quality of life and a lower cost of living.”

The index measures economic vitality in 200 large metropolitan areas and 201 small metropolitan areas using job creation, wage growth, and innovation industry metrics. The 2021 version of the index emphasizes jobs, wages, and high-tech growth, housing affordability, and household broadband access.

To view the full report and search the 400 metro areas evaluated, visit https://milkeninstitute.org/reports/best-performing-cities-2021, and follow coverage on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn using #BestPerformingCities.

2021 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index


  1. Provo-Orem, Utah
  2. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida
  3. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
  4. Salt Lake City, Utah
  5. Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina
  6. Boise, Idaho
  7. Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, Arizona
  8. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee
  9. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah
  10. Huntsville, Alabama
  11. Denver, Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado
  12. Fort Collins, Colorado
  13. Seattle, Bellevue-Kent, Washington


  1. Idaho Falls, Idaho
  2. Logan, Utah-Idaho
  3. The Villages, Florida
  4. St. George, Utah
  5. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Alabama
  6. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
  7. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  8. Sebastian-Vero Beach, Florida
  9. Gainesville, Georgia
  10. Charlottesville, Virginia
  11. Punta Gorda, Florida
  12. Bellingham, Washington
  13. Bend, Oregon