A recent report from Moody's Analytics highlighted the cities that are in the best and worst positions to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Adam Kamins, a senior regional economist at Moody's Analytics, found the "most dynamic recoveries" won't be in urban powerhouses like New York City, but instead in "areas that either were or were poised to lead the way in 2020 before everything changed."
The 10 best-positioned cities are (alphabetically): Boise, ID; Denver; Durham, NC; Madison, WI; Provo, UT; Raleigh, NC; Salt Lake City; San Jose, CA; Tucson, AZ; and Washington, DC, according to reporting from Forbes.
The 10 cities worst-situated to recover from the coronavirus are (alphabetically): Detroit; Honolulu; Los Angeles; McAllen, TX; Miami; New Haven, CT; New York City; Philadelphia; Stockton, CA; and Tampa, FL.
In deciding the rankings, Moody's Analytics plotted cities' population density against shares of jobs that require degrees, to assess economic standing, Forbes reported. The researchers also looked at core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) and educational attainment to calculate regional exposure to the virus.
This methodology reinforced the standing of some cities that are not traditionally considered "model cities" when assessing national trends, and illustrated the potential for a mass migration away from big metropolitan hubs toward up-and-coming cities with less density.
"The generation growing up today may remember the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and be more likely to opt to live in less densely packed places," Kamins wrote in the report.
College towns with high education attainment rates like Durham, NC and Madison, WI stand out among the top metro areas. And despite it's notoriety as a metropolitan hub, Washington, DC made the 'best-positioned' list thanks in part to its long-standing building height limit and high educational attainment rate.
Many of the cities predicted to come out on top after the pandemic are also already experiencing growth. Kamins told Forbes that Denver and Salt Lake City are among the fastest-growing metro areas in the U.S., and Raleigh, NC was named one of the best cities for tech workers according to a Smart Asset report from June 2019.
Microsoft is one major tech company getting in on the trend of exploring up-and-coming cities, opening tech hubs in Louisville, KY and Houston, and with plans to open one in Syracuse, NY. The prevalence and popularity of remote work could help support the migration of companies and city dwellers to smaller hubs, as well. Tulsa, OK found success attracting new residents before the pandemic via a remote work program, offering $10,000 and free co-working space if applicants choose to live in the city for at least one year.
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