Grand Rapids ranks among ‘next boomtowns’ in US


Downtown Grand Rapids and the Grand River. Courtesy Experience Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is expected to continue to boom.

Grand Rapids ranks No. 18 in a ranking of the U.S. cities most likely to prosper in the next decade, which was posted yesterday at Forbes.

Forbes contributors Joel Kotkin and Mark Schill looked at the 53 largest metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, and ranked them based on a number of factors.


The data looked at includes the percentage of children in the population ages 5-14, birth rate from 2010-14, net domestic migration, percentage of population ages 25-44 with a bachelor’s degree, income growth from 2010-15, unemployment rate and population growth from 2010-14.

“The results show two divergent kinds of ascendant cities,” the post says. “One is driven by the tech industry, the in-migration of educated people and sharply rising incomes. The other type is what we describe as ‘opportunity cities,’ which tend to have a diverse range of industries, lower costs and larger numbers of families. We may be one country, but the future is being shaped by two very different urban archetypes.”

Grand Rapids data

Fourteen percent of Grand Rapids' population is comprised of children ages 5-14, with 37 percent of people ages 25-44 having a bachelor’s degree, according to the post.

The city saw its job growth increase 20 percent from 2010-2015.

Population increased 3.9 percent from 2010-14.

Grand Rapidians saw their income growth shrink 2.2 percent from 2010-2015.

The net migration rate was 1.7 from 2010-14.

The birth rate in Grand Rapids increased 13.5 percent from 2010-2015.

Unemployment in the city stood at 5.2 percent, as of Nov. 15, 2015.

With those statistics, Grand Rapids ranks ahead of cities such as Portland, Ore., Washington, D.C., San Diego, Boston and Phoenix.

Detroit ranks No. 31.

Kotkin also wrote a post at Forbes last July ranking Grand Rapids as the No. 3 “manufacturing boomtown” in the country.

The top 10

1.   Austin, Texas
2.   Salt Lake City
3.   San Jose, Calif.
4.   Denver
5.   Raleigh, N.C.
6.   Houston
7.   Dallas
8.   San Antonio, Texas
9.   San Francisco
10. Oklahoma City 

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