America’s Biggest Boomtowns: The Fastest-Growing Cities in the US

Sara Korolevich
July 11, 2023
7 min read

Checkr analyzed data from all 381 US metro areas to uncover the fastest-growing cities in America. Join us as we dive into the key factors that make these American boomtowns some of the most desirable places to live and work in the country.

In recent years, the United States has experienced a significant degree of economic uncertainty, with far-reaching implications for businesses, consumers, and the cities they call home.

Factors such as housing instability, workforce layoffs, and a potential recession contributed to a climate of unpredictability, challenging the stability and confidence in the nation's economy and the growth of cities across the country.

Additionally, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic brought about unprecedented disruptions, leading to widespread job losses, business closures, and financial volatility.

Through all of these hardships, certain US cities have grown exponentially, while others have struggled to develop and attract new residents and jobs. Some cities have grown so fast that they’ve been labeled “boomtowns.”

A boomtown refers to a city that experiences rapid economic growth and development within a relatively short period. These cities and towns often undergo a significant population increase and witness a surge in economic activity due to various factors, which we’ll discuss shortly.

Boomtowns typically attract large numbers of people seeking employment and entrepreneurial prospects, leading to a rapid expansion of infrastructure, housing, and services to accommodate the growing population.

Checkr compiled this list to bring to light cities across the country that are best fit for businesses looking to start up or expand, and for individuals seeking a new home with great opportunities for employment. That said, if a business owner is looking to expand, relocate, or start a new venture, a boomtown might be a good place to learn more about. Additionally, if an individual is looking for a place for higher wages and better employment opportunities, perhaps a boomtown might be for them.

To showcase the boomtowns filled with opportunity, Checkr crunched the numbers using data sourced from the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

We dug into 10 critical factors about 381 US metro areas—the total number of metro areas as identified by the US Census Bureau. Each of the following 10 key factors was weighted appropriately and scaled, and then we calculated the weighted sum of the factors to obtain a final _Boomtown Score—the lower the score the better—_using the metrics below.

Kay factors:

  • Population growth
  • GDP growth
  • Unemployment rate
  • Workforce growth
  • Poverty rate
  • Housing unit growth
  • Real personal income growth
  • Change in median age
  • Change in the total number of businesses
  • Percentage of high-earning residents (making more than $100,000)

Now that we’ve revealed the key factors, let’s check out some of the important findings.

The boomtowns: America’s fastest-growing cities

Let’s start by looking at the biggest boomtowns in America—also known as the fastest-growing, quickest-developing cities in the country.

The boomtowns: America’s fastest-growing cities

*Data analyzed by Checkr from sources including the US Census Bureau & Bureau of Economic Analysis

Above you’ll see that Provo, Utah tops the list as America’s biggest boomtown, boasting the best Boomtown Score of 37—a result of Provo’s fantastic rankings for key metrics such as GDP growth (#4), number of businesses added (#2), and labor force growth (#6).

Joining Provo on the top-10 list were three additional Utah cities—St. George, 5th overall; Logan, 8th overall; and Ogden, 9th overall. Clearly, Utah has seen some fantastic growth over the past 5 years in both population and economic development.

Why? Utah has fostered a business-friendly environment that has attracted companies from various industries, including technology, finance, healthcare, and outdoor recreation. This has led to job opportunities and a steady influx of professionals and skilled workers seeking employment in these thriving sectors.

Alongside Utah, other cities in the top 10 are two high-ranking Idaho destinations—Boise City, 2nd overall, and Coeur d’Alene, 3rd overall. A combination of strong economic opportunities, top-ranking quality of life, and a lower cost of living has allowed these Idaho cities the opportunity to flourish in attracting new residents.

Rounding out the top 10 are Bend, Oregon, 4th overall; Destin, Florida, 6th overall; tech-favorite Austin, Texas, 7th overall; and Reno, Nevada, 10th overall.

Here’s an additional quick snapshot of the top 10 boomtowns:

  1. Provo, UT
  2. Boise City, ID
  3. Coeur d’Alene, ID
  4. Bend, OR
  5. St. George, UT
  6. Destin, FL
  7. Austin, TX
  8. Logan, UT
  9. Ogden, UT
  10. Reno, NV

For individuals and businesses on the lookout for opportunities in new cities, this top 10 list would be a great place to start along with the rest of the top 25 list featured in the graphic above.

Next, let’s review the cities that fall on the other side of the boomtown spectrum—the slowest-growing cities in America.

The not-boomtowns: America’s slowest-growing cities

We’ve learned why certain cities in the US are booming and experiencing economic and population growth. But why are some cities flourishing while others are struggling to grow?

Several factors should be considered here: Economic investment, demographic trends, environmental constraints, social and political instability, market conditions, and climate, among others.

It's equally important to recognize that each city's growth potential is influenced by a unique combination of factors, and addressing the challenges requires a comprehensive approach that involves collaboration between government, private sector entities, and the community to identify and overcome barriers to growth.

Let’s map out the cities that are either growing much slower or struggling to grow at all when compared to the previously discussed boomtowns.

The not-so-much boomtowns: America’s slowest-growing cities

*Data analyzed by Checkr from sources including the US Census Bureau & Bureau of Economic Analysis

The graphic above shows Decatur, Illinois as the slowest-growing city in the country. Additional research shows that Decatur lacks high-quality manufacturing jobs, and there is a “trickle-down effect.” David Wilson, a professor of Geography and Urban Planning at the University of Illinois believes “the jobs replacing the manufacturing jobs are service industry jobs and, in many ways, do not provide a living wage.” The research indicates that economic factors and job opportunities are contributing to the city’s position as the lowest-ranked city on the list.

Joining Decatur in the bottom 5 are Shreveport, Louisiana; Lima, Ohio; Lawton, Oklahoma; and Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.

For Shreveport, specifically, one major limiting factor was COVID-19 and the impact that the pandemic had on gaming and casinos. Reporting immediately following the start of the pandemic, the Shreveport Times said that “the unthinkable happened during the stay-at-home order—casinos went dark. No gaming. No buffets. No concerts. Six area casinos were closed. DiamondJacks never reopened.”

Rounding out the bottom 10 on the list of slower-growing cities are Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Champaign, Illinois; Erie, Pennsylvania; Beaumont, Texas; and St. Joseph, Missouri.

Here’s an additional quick snapshot of the cities on the bottom of the list of boomtowns:

  1. Decatur, IL
  2. Shreveport, LA
  3. Lima, OH
  4. Lawton, OK
  5. Bloomsburg, PA
  6. Pine Bluff, AR
  7. Champaign, IL
  8. Erie, PA
  9. Beaumont, TX
  10. St. Joseph, MO

These low-ranking cities are all struggling for different reasons, but economic hardship is a common theme. From population loss in Erie and Beaumont to the labor force issues in Decatur, each city is struggling currently but ultimately hopes to regain its footing and prosper in the coming years.

Finally, let’s look at the full rundown of all the 381 metro areas and how they stack up in terms of the fastest-growing boomtowns and slower-developing not-so-much booming cities across the country.

The full list of America’s fastest-growing cities

RankMetro AreaBoomtown Score
1Provo-Orem, UT Metro Area37
2Boise City, ID Metro Area47
3Coeur d'Alene, ID Metro Area52
4Bend, OR Metro Area54
5St. George, UT Metro Area55
6Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL Metro Area56
7Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX Metro Area61
8Logan, UT-ID Metro Area68
9Ogden-Clearfield, UT Metro Area73
10Reno, NV Metro Area74
11North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL Metro Area76
12Fort Collins, CO Metro Area77
13Idaho Falls, ID Metro Area78
14Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metro Area79
15Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL Metro Area81
16Huntsville, AL Metro Area82
17Jacksonville, FL Metro Area82
18Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL Metro Area84
19Salt Lake City, UT Metro Area84
20Raleigh-Cary, NC Metro Area86
21Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ Metro Area86
22Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metro Area87
23Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater, WA Metro Area87
24The Villages, FL Metro Area89
25Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metro Area92
26Stockton, CA Metro Area96
27Punta Gorda, FL Metro Area97
28Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area97
29Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL Metro Area97
30Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL Metro Area99
31Ocala, FL Metro Area99
32Midland, TX Metro Area99
33Pocatello, ID Metro Area101
34Colorado Springs, CO Metro Area101
35Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Metro Area101
36Gainesville, FL Metro Area102
37Sioux Falls, SD Metro Area104
38Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metro Area105
39Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL Metro Area105
40Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA Metro Area109
41Greeley, CO Metro Area110
42Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metro Area111
43Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL Metro Area111
44Longview, WA Metro Area113
45Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metro Area113
46Jacksonville, NC Metro Area113
47Wilmington, NC Metro Area114
48Sherman-Denison, TX Metro Area116
49Kennewick-Richland, WA Metro Area116
50Morristown, TN Metro Area119
51Prescott Valley-Prescott, AZ Metro Area120
52Jackson, TN Metro Area123
53Naples-Marco Island, FL Metro Area123
54Hilton Head Island-Bluffton, SC Metro Area124
55Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN Metro Area125
56Salem, OR Metro Area126
57Gainesville, GA Metro Area126
58Port St. Lucie, FL Metro Area126
59Charleston-North Charleston, SC Metro Area128
60Bellingham, WA Metro Area128
61Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL Metro Area129
62Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA Metro Area129
63Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC Metro Area129
64Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR Metro Area130
65Portland-South Portland, ME Metro Area131
66Auburn-Opelika, AL Metro Area131
67Abilene, TX Metro Area133
68Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA Metro Area136
69Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL Metro Area137
70Dover, DE Metro Area139
71Savannah, GA Metro Area139
72Burlington, NC Metro Area140
73Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Metro Area142
74Hammond, LA Metro Area142
75Vallejo, CA Metro Area142
76Sumter, SC Metro Area144
77Clarksville, TN-KY Metro Area144
78San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX Metro Area145
79Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metro Area145
80Grand Junction, CO Metro Area146
81Asheville, NC Metro Area146
82Tyler, TX Metro Area147
83Killeen-Temple, TX Metro Area148
84Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ Metro Area148
85Manchester-Nashua, NH Metro Area149
86Carson City, NV Metro Area151
87Albany-Lebanon, OR Metro Area151
88Greenville-Anderson, SC Metro Area152
89Fayetteville, NC Metro Area152
90Wenatchee, WA Metro Area152
91Missoula, MT Metro Area153
92Columbus, OH Metro Area153
93Boulder, CO Metro Area153
94Rochester, MN Metro Area156
95Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV Metro Area157
96Madison, WI Metro Area158
97Ames, IA Metro Area158
98Bremerton-Silverdale-Port Orchard, WA Metro Area158
99Jonesboro, AR Metro Area160
100Athens-Clarke County, GA Metro Area160
Data analyzed by Checkr from sources including the US Census Bureau & Bureau of Economic Analysis

To download the full list of 381 metro areas, rankings, and scores, click here.

For more information on Check’s research or to request graphics, please contact


To rank America’s biggest boomtowns, Checkr analyzed 10 key factors from the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The factors include population growth, GDP growth, unemployment rate, workforce growth, poverty rate, housing unit growth, real personal income growth, change in median age, change in the total number of businesses, and percentage of full-time workers making above $100,000. Each factor was weighted and scaled appropriately by Checkr resulting in the final rankings of America’s biggest boomtowns.


The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

About the author

Sara Korolevich serves as’s editor and content manager. In this role, she produces educational resources for employers on a broad range of screening topics, including background check compliance and best practices. She also writes about Checkr’s company and product news to keep customers updated and informed.

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