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Ranked: Nashville secures No. 4 spot on ‘Best Performing Cities’ index

The report weighs job and wage growth, median of high-tech industries, and housing costs and access.

A view from a downtown Nashville rooftop overlooking Bridgestone Arena, Music City Center, and Fifth + Broadway.

Nashville put in the work, and it shows.

Photo by NASHtoday

Table of Contents

Nashville is getting an A+ on its report card after rising 21 positions over last year on economic think tank the Milken Institute’s “Best Performing Cities” index. The No. 4 ranking puts Nashville at the top of the pack in Tier 1, in company with large cities like Austin, Raleigh, and Phoenix.

Cities were split up by large and small + ranked based on factors across job and wage growth, high-tech industries, and housing costs and access. Let’s identify Nashville’s strengths and weaknesses as told by the report.

📈 Major wins

Nashville’s sudden incline is credited largely to the city’s strong labor market.

  • Employment grew 5.9% from October 2021 to October 2022.
  • Music City ranks sixth among large cities for short-term job growth + numbers indicate a longer job growth trend.
  • Outside of the tourism and hospitality industry, health care contributes $67 billion and 328,000+ jobs annually.
  • High-tech job growth has also outpaced the national average over the last five years.

📉 Areas for improvement

Housing costs remain high in Music City, and high-tech concentration remains low in comparison to other Tier 1 large cities despite its recent growth. Focusing on these two factors could place Nashville higher on next year’s index, which will be based on 2022 numbers.

  • Nashville has ranked between 80 and 90 for housing costs over the course of five years.
  • According to the report, rising housing costs could be contributed in part to more qualified workers moving into the city.