Feb 6, 2024 - News

Where Colorado stands in a new best cities ranking

Illustration of a winner's medal shaped like a location pin.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Four Colorado cities, led by Colorado Springs, ranked in the top 50 nationwide for their economic performance.

Why it matters: These metropolitan areas offer high wages, plentiful jobs, a (relatively) low cost of living and thriving tech sectors — making them economic models for the rest of the nation, according to the Milken Institute.

By the numbers: Colorado Springs topped the state's list at No. 15 among best performing large cities in the nation for 2024, up from 37th in 2023. The study touted its economic resilience, job growth and broadband coverage.

  • Denver ranked 20th, up eight spots from a year prior.
  • Fort Collins came in at 29, jumping from 46 in 2023.
  • Boulder landed at 47th, a downgrade from No. 41.
  • Greeley ranked No. 93, an improvement from 126.

Yes, but: No Colorado city ranked in the top tier and low rankings for housing affordability hurt all cities, particularly Denver and Boulder.

Of note: Among best performing small cities, Grand Junction ranked 58th and Pueblo landed at 119.

What they did: The Milken Institute, a nonpartisan nonprofit, assessed 403 U.S. metropolitan areas using 13 economic metrics, based on data from January 2022-August 2023.

  • The report divided cities into large metros (more than 275,000 people) and smaller ones.

What they're saying: "These rankings really look at growth," Maggie Switek, an author of the Milken report, tells Axios. "What we mean by top-performing is that these are the cities that are growing the fastest."

  • "So if we think about New York or San Francisco, those are cities that have grown in the past and now are maintaining the status quo, whereas the cities that are performing at the top are really where jobs, wages and the high-tech sector are growing."

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