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Top 10 Large Counties in 2020

The 2020 list of top counties in the US is here! Learn more about what the Community Index is and what the 2020 list is all about here. Below is our list of the top 10 large counties (population 500k+) across the US, ranked using indicator data to measure community vibrancy and economic success.

1. Seattle, WA (King County)

Seattle, Washington (King County) is in the top spot for large regions. King County performs in the top ten percent in investment, sustainability, and talent and above average in diversity and place. A density of high-tech industries, a variety of cultural assets, access to green space, and strong public transportation all make Seattle an attractive place to call home.

2. Portland, OR (Multnomah County)

Coming in second for large-sized regions is Portland, Oregon, a region scoring in the top ten percent in investment, sustainability, and talent. With a robust start-up and entrepreneurial culture, the county of Multnomah has become an economic powerhouse in the state. Along with economic strength, Portland boasts above-average scores in diversity and place. The legacy of sports culture and business as well as a lively arts scene continues to draw residents to Portland.

3. Minneapolis, MN (Hennepin County)

Number three on our large-sized list is Minneapolis, Minnesota, which scores in the top ten percent in four out of our five indicators - investment, place, sustainability, and talent. A diverse combination of businesses attract a wide range of talent, with one in five Minnesotans calling Hennepin County home. And in a state known for its many lakes, residents of the Twin Cities region are also swimming in a thriving arts and culture scene.

4. Worcester, MA (Worcester County)

Worcester, Massachusetts comes in at number four on the large-sized county list, scoring in the top ten percent on sustainability and talent. Nicknamed “the Heart of the Commonwealth” and only an hour’s drive west of Boston, Worcester also performs above average on investment and place.

5. Atlanta, GA (Fulton County)

Fulton County, Georgia—home to the city of Atlanta—makes our top five list of large-sized counties, with scores in the top ten percent on investment, place, and talent. Home to major players like Coca Cola and Home Depot, Fulton County has the third-highest number of Fortune 500 company headquarters in the country. In addition, the region’s rich historical roots and cultural scene ensures it is a strong place to both live and work.

6. Lowell and Cambridge, MA (Middlesex County)

The most populous county in New England, Middlesex ranks sixth on our list. Scoring in the top ten percent on sustainability and talent, Middlesex is home to more than 20 colleges and universities. The wealth of educational institutions in the Boston area makes for a highly educated workforce, as well as a wide array of cultural opportunities for residents.

7. San Francisco, CA (San Francisco County)

San Francisco comes in at number seven on our list of large-sized counties. As the tech and finance hub of northern California, it’s no surprise that the city scores in the top ten percent for investment and talent. The strong arts and culture scene, sunny days, and proximity to both mountains and ocean makes the bay area a highly desirable destination.

8. Saint Paul, MN (Ramsey County)

Number eight on our large-sized county list is Ramsey County, home to Saint Paul, Minnesota. With high scores in every category, the region scores particularly well in place and talent. Although the most densely populated county in the state, Ramsey is also in close proximity to Minnesota’s many lakes and recreation areas, and sits on the banks of the Mississippi River.

9. Denver, CO (Denver County)

Denver comes in at our ninth spot for large-sized counties, with strong performances in all categories. Denver is the biggest city within a 600-mile radius and is an economic engine for the region. The Denver region (which in addition to Denver County includes other high performing counties like Douglas and Broomfield) scores in the top ten percent in talent and investment and above average in diversity. Its proximity to outdoor amenities and cultural assets draws people to this vibrant region.

10. Madison, WI (Dane County)

Dane County is number ten on our list of large-sized counties. Home to the quintessential “college town” of Madison—and the University of Wisconsin—Dane is in the top ten percent for place and talent, with above average scores in sustainability and investment. With beautiful natural spaces, working farms, and one of the few free zoos in the county, Dane County is a great place for families as well as the thriving student population of the University.

Curious about where your community ranks? Check out the 2020 Community Index!

Wondering what to do to move your community up on the list? Get in touch!


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