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These Are the Fastest-Growing Cities in the U.S. Right Now

Bend, Oregon | Shutterstock
Bend, Oregon | Shutterstock

Getting caught in gridlock traffic every morning and long grocery store lines may be an annoying byproduct of your city suddenly becoming popular, but there are many more reasons to get excited about living in a place that's growing rapidly. It generally means the economy and employment rate is booming, and that can do wonders to woo a younger crowd of new residents who may very well breathe fresh life and energy into the nightlife and dining scene. In short, it's always better to be thriving than dying. 

So, where are the boomtowns in America right now? The team at WalletHub just did the heavy lifting and determined the fastest-growing small, mid-size, and large cities in the United States in 2018.

The new list comes courtesy of the financial advice site, which looked at a whole slew of metrics and crunched the numbers to figure out where the fastest local economic growth has occurred around the country. Specifically, they compared 515 cities of varying population sizes using 15 key data points like working-age population growth, job growth, poverty rate decrease, median house price growth, and building permit activity growth. 

Topping the list is Fort Myers, Florida, followed by Midland, Texas, and Pearland, Texas. Meanwhile, on the other end of things Decatur, Illinois was the slowest-growing city, with Shreveport, Louisiana and Erie, Pennsylvania rounding out the bottom three respectively. Here's how the top 25 fastest-growing cities ranked.

25. Seattle, WA
24. Cape Coral, FL
23. Santa Clarita, CA
22. Loveland, CO
21. Manteca, CA
20. Saint George, UT
19. Miami, FL
18. Austin, TX
17. Round Rock, TX
16. Frisco, TX
15. Redwood City, CA
14. Meridian, ID
13. Murfreesboro, TN
12. Pleasanton, CA
11. Milpitas, CA
10. Irvine, CA
9. Enterprise, NV
8. Mount Pleasant, SC
7. Lehigh Acres, FL
6. College Station, TX
5. McKinney, TX
4. Bend, OR
3. Pearland, TX
2. Midland, TX
1. Fort Myers, FL

Source: WalletHub

Besides ranking the cities based on a combination of all metrics, the WalletHub folks also broke things down by some telling specifics. For instance, they called out those with the highest income growth, which include San Marcos, California; East Orange, New Jersey; and Bloomington, Indiana. As for those with the highest job growth, Frisco, Texas; Meridian, Idaho; and Lake Charles, Louisiana all top the list, while Compton, California and Port St. Lucie, Florida are among those with the highest decrease in poverty rate. 

You'll notice that many of the cities on the top third of the list are scattered throughout the South, which is in keeping with the U.S. Census numbers from 2017 on big cities with booming populations. Also, a wide swath of small and mid-size cities along the entire West Coast seem to be seeing rapid growth. And if you've been thinking about making a move, bow may be the time to pull the trigger, since at least a few of the places at the top of this list also happen to be among the best places for young professionals to kick start their career.

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.