Concord ranks No. 9 in US for high-quality growth


Photo by Marty Price

Oct. 3. Experts might not agree on the best or the right recipe for rapid economic growth, but some cities have figured out the key ingredients and how to stir the pot just right to sustain long-term prosperity. Patterns emerge within those cities, allowing people to identify the contributing factors that perpetuate quality growth.

Our very own Concord is No. 9 on a national list of fast-growing cities. Frisco and League City in Texas came in first and second, while Lehigh Acres, Fla.; Kent, Wash.; and Surprise, Ariz. round out the Top Five. There were no other North Carolina cities in the Top 10.

On the flip side, Jacksonville, N.C., came in No. 515 on the list.

The study was conducted by WalletHub, a personal finance website that launched in early August 2013. It is based in Washington, D.C. and owned by Evolution Finance.



Tim Vaughn, chairman of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce, said Concord government is very pro-active and growth-oriented, as well as the Cabarrus County government.

“Combine the Chamber, the Economic Development Corp and Cabarrus Convention and Visitors Bureau…and it is one heck of a cohesive strong team. This news to me is not surprising at all,” Vaughn said.

WalletHub researchers say the quick path toward success is not cut and dried for every city. In order to identify the fastest-growing local economies, WalletHub’s analysts compared 515 U.S. cities of varying population sizes based on 14 key indicators of rapid economic growth.

The data set — from a period spanning 2008 to 2015 — ranges from “population growth” to “unemployment rate decrease” and “growth in regional GDP per capita.”

Places like Toms River, N.J.; Toledo, Ohio; Detroit; and Jacksonville, N.C. would have lower scores in such measures as reduction in poverty, unemployment rate decrease and venture capital investment.

Concord has successfully attracted millennials and new companies and employers—a conscious and deliberate effort, according to Mayor Scott Padgett.

“Bringing employers to provide jobs for the new people and those who already live here are so important,” Padgett said. “We’re investing in the historic downtown while enhancing the quality of life they are searching for.”

The Cabarrus Arts Council, festivals and tree lighting are things that are making Concord a vibrant, diverse community.

“The millennials like nostalgia and historic places,” Padgett said. “Not one of them has ever said ‘Hey I’d like to see your mall,’ but they do want to see Union Street.”

WalletHub analysts compared 515 cities of varying population sizes based on two key dimensions, including “Sociodemographics” and “Jobs & Economy.”

WalletHub evaluated the categories using 14 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing optimal economic growth.

Overall scores were calculated for each city using the weighted average across all metrics.

WalletHub categorized each city according to the following population sizes:

  • Large cities: More than 300,000 people
  • Midsize cities: 100,000 to 300,000 people
  • Small cities: Fewer than 100,000 people

Sociodemographics – Total Points: 50

  • Population Growth: Double Weight (~25.00 points)
  • Working-Age Population Growth: Full Weight (~12.50 points)
  • College-Educated Population Growth: Full Weight (~12.50 points)

Jobs & Economy – Total Points: 50

  • Median Household Income Growth: Full Weight (~4.76 points)
  • Unemployment Rate Decrease: Full Weight (~4.76 points)
  • Poverty Rate Decrease: Full Weight (~4.76 points)
  • Job Growth: Full Weight (~4.76 points)
  • Increase in Ratio of Full-Time to Part-Time Jobs: Half Weight (~2.38 points)
  • Growth in Regional GDP per Capita: Full Weight (~4.76 points)
  • Increase in Number of Businesses: Full Weight (~4.76 points)
  • Increase in Number of Startups: Full Weight (~4.76 points)
  • Increase in Venture Capital Investment Amount: Full Weight (~4.76 points)
  • Median House Price Growth: Full Weight (~4.76 points)
  • Foreclosure Rate Decrease: Full Weight (~4.76 points)


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