Fargo Area Among America’s Fastest Growing Cities For Combination Of Population, Employment, And Rising Median Wages

Of over 475 larger cities, the FM Metro is one of the fastest growing when combining these three categories: Population, employment, and median income.
While not all growth is good, growing well where more people benefit is important. Working together, the best is yet to come.
Thanks for the share Greg Tehven!

Here’s the article by Divya in full:

America’s Fastest-Growing Cities

Austin Texas skyscrapers at sunset from helicopter

by  on JUNE 10, 2013

Which cities are on the up-and-up?  The answer might surprise you.  NerdWallet  sifted through the data from over 475 cities to find cities that were growing in three categories—population, employment and income—and ranked them according to growth rates.  We used the following three factors to determine the overall growth score of each city:

  1. Population: Population growth in the working-age population (16+) between 2007 and 2011
  2. Employment: Growth in the percentage of employed residents 16+ between 2007 and 2011
  3. Income: Growth in median income for workers between 2007 and 2011

Check out our cost of living calculator for more information.

America’s Fastest-Growing Cities

1.    New Orleans, Louisiana

The Big Easy has made an inspirational comeback since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.  Rising out of the tragedy, New Orleans has rebuilt itself into a thriving energy, education and tech hub.  Rich with music, food and culture, New Orleans has plenty to offer, and the schools are improving as well—in the past 10 years, the percentage of eighth-grade students passing Louisiana’s LEAP test has more than doubled.   The city’s universities show a commitment to public service and community enrichment, and Tulane University’s GIST Program connects seventh grade girls with female role models and mentors in STEM fields.  Additionally, Dillard University has expanded their campus in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, thereby supporting the New Orleans community.

2.    Gainesville, Florida

A growing startup hub (Gainesville is home to music startup Grooveshark), Gainesville has plenty of resources for entrepreneurs.  The Gainesville Technology Enterprise Center provides tools and training for early-stage startups. High schoolers can benefit from this entrepreneurial environment as well by participating in the University of Florida’s outreach and youth program, such as the Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership and Sustainability Summer Program.

3.    Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo’s thriving manufacturing, education and healthcare industries contribute to its growing economy.  Businesspeople can take advantage of the city’s Department of Economic Development.  There is a variety of entertainment in Fargo as well.  The city holds plenty of parks, a yearly winter carnival, the largest art museum in the state and the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra.

4.    Fayetteville, North Carolina

Fayetteville’s population has grown by 1/5 over a four-year period.  A three-time winner of the All-America City Award, Fayetteville is known for its commitment to veterans, and its economy is largely based on the defense industry and Fort Bragg, a U.S. Army installation.  Fayetteville State University is committed to economic development, and the school offers an annual youth entrepreneurship conference as well as a green business conference.

5.    Odessa, Texas

Although Odessa has relied on the oil industry in the past, the city is expanding into other energy industries, including wind and clean coal.  This growing city has plenty of entertainment opportunities and historical sites as well, including the Odessa Meteor Crater and the White-Pool House, a historic museum built in 1887.

6.    Mount Vernon, New York

Mount Vernon is quickly growing in the fields of education and healthcare.  The 115 year-old Mount Vernon Hospital contributes to the thriving healthcare industry in the city.  Mount Vernon is an extremely diverse community, with residents from over 98 nationalities.  The city also has a large Brazilian community.

7.    Mountain View, California

Located at the heart of Silicon Valley, it’s no surprise that Mountain View makes the list.  The city is home to many technology startups, including Google, Mozilla and Intuit.  California is excellent for small businesses, and Mountain View has plenty to offer, including sunny weather, Shoreline Park and plenty of restaurants and cafes.

8.    Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Highlands Ranch is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live.  With the city’s recreation centers and plethora of parks, it’s easy to see why this planned community ranks as one of the fastest-growing cities.  The city is great for residents at all levels, offering everything from children’s recreation programs to senior outreach services.  The city even has a Healthy Steps program that incentivizes exercise.

9.    El Paso, Texas

El Paso’s low cost of living and warm weather are obvious reasons why people are flocking to The Sun City.  But in addition, El Paso has great dining, theater venues and museums, so the city offers plenty of entertainment as well.  Education, military and manufacturing are main industries in the area, and the city is home to several Fortune 500 companies.  The University of Texas at El Paso offers professional training and development classes that help the local community as well, providing classes and trainings on financial literacy, self-defense, art and more.

10. Pasadena, California

Home to Caltech, this growing city employs many in the education sector.  Pasadena has a rich arts culture as well—residents can see the Pasadena Symphony and attend plays at the Pasadena Playhouse.  Caltech, located in Pasadena, holds public events as well, including music performances and public speakers.

Rank City Population growth (population 16+, 2007-2011) Growth in employment rate (percent population 16+ in labor force, 2007-2011) Growth in median income (median earnings for workers adjusted for inflation, 2007-2011) Overall growth score
1 New Orleans, Louisiana 45.5% 1.6% 15.6% 82.9
2 Gainesville, Florida 14.2% 6.6% 18.7% 75.8
3 Fargo, North Dakota 14.0% 3.9% 11.3% 67.8
4 Fayetteville, North Carolina 19.6% 3.7% 4.8% 67.5
5 Odessa, Texas 6.9% 5.7% 7.7% 65.3
6 Mount Vernon, New York 4.2% 7.4% 4.4% 65.1
7 Mountain View, California 3.2% 4.7% 11.4% 63.4
8 Highlands Ranch, Colorado 14.1% 1.5% 7.5% 62.2
9 El Paso, Texas 12.7% 2.3% 6.1% 62.1
10 Pasadena, California 3.1% 4.5% 9.0% 61.9
11 Bloomington, Illinois 5.8% 3.3% 8.9% 61.3
12 Miramar, Florida 8.6% 3.6% 0.4% 59.4
13 Rochester, Minnesota 12.0% 1.9% 1.9% 59.1
14 Santa Monica, California 6.0% 3.3% 2.4% 58.4
15 Vacaville, California 1.4% 5.1% 1.2% 58.4
16 Las Cruces, New Mexico 8.0% 0.8% 8.6% 58.2
17 Quincy, Massachusetts 10.0% 2.3% 0.2% 57.9
18 Washington, District of Columbia 7.3% 0.5% 9.7% 57.8
19 Midland, Texas 8.9% 2.1% 0.8% 57.2
20 Shreveport, Louisiana 3.1% 1.9% 7.8% 57.0

Data came from the U.S. Census, data set CP03

~ End Article~

Here are the charts showing the upward value trend of almost triple in the downtown area from 2002 – 2013. Notice the rise during the national economic crisis 2007-2010.

 Both Fargo and Moorheads downtowns were more vibrant mid-century with people living, working, and playing in multi-use buildings and close by Island and Oak Grove parks.  

While the targeted incentives of the Renaissance Zone have helped spur re-investment here, I believe the influx of artists and gallerys, eclectic home owned shops and businesses, 4,000 students and more people from diverse backgrounds choosing to live in or near downtown makes for a sustainable 24 – 7 vibrant, and interesting atmosphere.

In the late 50’s prior to the conversion to one way traffic on NP and 1st, there were 130 businesses just on those two corridors between University and the river. Now there are less than 70.

The best news is even though it’s tripled in value, we’re not even half way done with several areas ripe for new development or re-development.  It’s no coincidence that during this revitalization of our core, transit ridership has also almost tripled since 2004 when there were 800,000 annual rides. It’s grown each year now with over 2.1 million rides and half of those college age riders enjoying the value transit brings.

To recruit and retain people and businesses, we have to protect the hundreds of millions in new value with protection that expands the greenway so the river has more capacity and provides a year round amenity for folks to enjoy and embrace the river while respecting it. That work is now in the early planning stages and the geo technical report shows the area that can accommodate the weight of the flood structure.

We need to respect and embrace the river so there is a crucial need for permanent flood protection as well as completing the 2nd Ave “gateway to the river” that provides a beautiful year round access for activities in an expanded greenway over the coming downtown flood protection that moves 2nd street away from the slumping river bank.  Another beautiful opportunity to add value to our core and river.