Irvine Tops List of America’s “Thriving Cities”


The popular news and opinion website The Daily Beast recently set out to discover the cities that most exemplify America’s post-recession progress – America’s Top 20 “Thriving Cities.”

They discovered that Irvine is Number One.

According to the article, they “wanted to find the cities with growing populations, with more job prospects, and a better chance to climb the income ladder. Once we found where people were going, we looked at the environment they would find. These are cities with a thriving housing market and the intellectual capital to innovate and improve. Finally, we considered municipal bond ratings.”

To come with their list, they “looked at the 100 largest cities in the U.S. and compared them in categories of population growth (20 percent), employment and earnings (30 percent), market strength (20 percent), infrastructure (15 percent), and intellectual capital (15 percent) and weighted them accordingly. We used data from the U.S. Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Equality of Opportunity Project, Moody’s Credit Services, Zillow, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.”

The Top 20 “Thriving Cities” are:

1. Irvine, California
2. San Jose, California
3. Fremont, California
4. Austin, Texas
5. San Francisco, California
6. Seattle, Washington
7. Plano, Texas
8. Gilbert, Texas
9. Orlando, Florida
10. San Diego, California
11. Washington, D.C.
12. Chandler, Arizona
13. Denver, Colorado
14. Madison, Wisconsin
15. Scottsdale, Arizona
16. Boston, Massachusetts
17. Irving, Texas
18. Raleigh, North Carolina
19. Minneapolis, Minnesota
20. Lincoln, Nebraska

The article points out that while some economists and journalists – and, of course, politicians — have been acting like Chicken Littles telling us that the economic sky is falling, the evidence shows that “local economies are actually improving. In fact, it’s perhaps more illustrative of the state of the nation to find places that are thriving post-recession.”  This is certainly true in Irvine, where we have seen our property values increase and our population surge, our unemployment decline, and city revenues far exceed budget estimates.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “thrive” as “grow or develop well or vigorously.”

Yes, Irvine is thriving — but is it Irvine developing too fast?  Has growth exceeded planning?  Is Irvine now in danger of too much growth, too fast, creating overcrowded schools, traffic congestion, and presenting a danger to our quality of life?

Moving forward, we can do even better for our schools, our parks, our neighborhoods, our seniors, and our local businesses.