The Rise of Mid-Size U.S. Cities: The Industrial Development Boom

28 Sep 2023


Amidst a time of transformation characterized by changing preferences and economic shifts, numerous major urban centers have witnessed a downturn in economic activity in recent years. During this same time period, many of their mid-size counterparts have flourished. While the rise of these mid-size cities has been under way for some time, the unprecedented changes brought about by the pandemic accelerated their growth trajectory — with notable migration of both companies and new residents.

Defined by a regional Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) population spanning from 500,000 to 1,000,000 residents, there are 59 mid-size cities across the United States. About half of them have grown over the past few years and are forecasted to grow more than 2 percent over the next five years. Of those expected to grow, the vast majority are located in the Southeast. In contrast, most of the northeastern cities are forecasted to have very small growth or, in many cases, are expected to contract.

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