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Top 10 Mid-sized 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 mid-sized counties (population 100k-500k) across the US, that we ranked using indicator data to measure community vibrancy and economic success.

Outside of Sacramento, California, Placer County is our number one mid-sized county. Placer holds strong scores across all categories, including placing in the top ten percent for investment and sustainability. On top of its unique place in history surrounding the gold mining rush, Placer is also home to North Lake Tahoe and stunning mountains. It is consistently ranked as one of the healthiest counties in California.

San Luis Obispo has a top spot on our list of mid-sized counties, scoring in the top ten percent on investment, sustainability, and talent and above average on diversity and place. Sometimes referred to as SLO CAL®, the county is rich with beautiful natural resources, from Pacific Ocean beaches to the Los Padres National Forest. Home to California Polytechnic State University, the county is also the third largest wine producer in the state, making for strong economic and recreational opportunities.

Less than 50 miles from both Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Frederick County performs above average in every indicator area. The county ranks in the top ten percent on sustainability, and strongly promotes renewable energy resources like a solar co-op within the community. With historic Civil War sites, the Appalachian Trail, breweries, and orchards abounding, Frederick County is “where hip meets historic every day.”

4. Greeley, CO (Weld County)

Colorado’s third largest county, Weld County, makes the number four spot on our list. The richest agricultural county east of the Rockies, Weld is an important producer of cattle, milk, grain, and sugar beets. Greeley, the largest city in the county, boasts a lively downtown and houses the University of Northern Colorado. Weld County ranks in the top ten percent on diversity and investment, with above average scores in sustainability and talent.

5. Durham, NC (Durham County)

Durham, North Carolina, is one of our top areas for mid-sized counties. Durham, home to Duke University, is in the top ten percent of diversity, talent, and investment. Durham benefits from the strong regional economy of the Research Triangle and the educated and talented workforce it attracts. Between the weather, cost of living, and evolving culinary scene, Durham is an excellent community to live or work.

6. Des Moines, IA (Polk County)

The City of Des Moines is the capital city of Iowa and comes in sixth on our list of mid-sized regions, ranking in the top ten percent in investment, talent, and place categories, and above average in sustainability. It is known as one of America's “Most LGBT-Friendly Cities” after Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco and provides impressive cultural learning and exploration opportunities for tourists and residents.

7. Savannah, GA (Chatham County)

The oldest city in Georgia, Savannah performs strongly in all areas, with particularly high marks in talent and investment.The region is home to one of the top three busiest ports in the country, nearby army base Fort Stewart, and a host of manufacturing companies. History, food, art, and fashion combine with the natural beauty of parks and coastline to make this a dynamic city for residents and visitors alike.

Sussex County is number eight on our list of mid-sized regions. Home to most of Delaware’s Atlantic beaches, as well as a host of saltwater and freshwater wetlands, the County has a strong economy centered around tourism and agriculture -- it produces more poultry than any other county in the nation. Sussex scores above average in every category, and is in the top ten percent on investment, sustainability, and place.

9. Prescott, AZ (Yavapai County)

Prescott, Arizona—the seat of Yavapai County—makes our list of top ten mid-sized counties, scoring in the top ten percent on investment, place, and sustainability, with above average scores on diversity and talent. 75% of the county’s land is publicly owned, with an abundance of national forest and wilderness areas. Prescott’s four golf courses, bustling downtown, and “world’s oldest rodeo” ensure this region is an exciting place for residents to call home.

10. Fort Collins, CO (Larimer County)

Fort Collins is number ten on our list of mid-sized regions. Located in Northern Colorado against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins has a rich history as well as a robust and growing economy showing no signs of slowing down. It is a top location for business. Fort Collins and the surrounding region has landed in the top ten percent with high investment, talent, and sustainability scores.

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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