The Best U.S. Metro Areas for Young Entrepreneurs Are Moving Inland

December 29, 2016

11:20 am

It’s a well-worn stereotype that U.S. coastal cities are the “cool” sections of America. New York, Seattle, and the Bay area are all a stone’s throw from one ocean or another, and they’re all huge draws on the youngest, hippest entrepreneurs around.

But that cool factor is self-limiting: Rising rents mean that practically no bootstrappers can afford the cities. Now, new data indicates that the best metro areas to set up a home base are inland.

Nerdwallet recently took a look at all 381 of the U.S. Census Bureau-certified metro areas, logging data that included the 25-to-34-year-old population, the numbers of those with an undergraduate education or higher, the per capita dollar amount of U.S. Small Business Administration loans, the ratio of businesses to the population, the median home value, the median income and the unemployment rate. Here’s what they found.

The Top Ten

Out of hundreds of metros, the top ten includes eight inland cities and just two coastal ones — the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington area and the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California area, both of which clocked in low on the list. Here’s the full list:

1. Boulder, Colorado

2. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota

3. Salt Lake City, Utah

4. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

5. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado

6. Fort Collins, Colorado

7. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington

8. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California

9. Fargo, North Dakota-Moorhead, Minnesota

10. Missoula, Montana

Colorado Takes the Crown

You may have noticed one state crop up on that list more than a few times. Here’s what NerdWallet had to say on the biggest concentration of entrepreneur-friendly areas in the U.S.

“Boulder, Fort Collins and the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area — all within about 65 miles of each other — take up three of the top 10 spots on our list. The networking website Built in Colorado lists 2,160 startups and tech companies in its database. The majority of these firms are privately held, and 769 of them have 10 or fewer employees.”

Like most of the areas on the list, Colorado appears to offer lower median home prices than their more pricey coastal counterparts, yet still provide similar median incomes and low enough unemployment. And, since this areas are attracting plenty of millennials, the local cultures are likely to be needing just as many new restaurants and breweries as tech companies, opening up job opportunities for many.

Image: Wikimedia

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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