Census Statistics Reveal Ideal Cities for Startups

Written By
G. Dautovic
March 14,2022

Startups find plenty of qualified workers in huge cities, but that’s about the only advantage. Extremely high cost-of-living stats and the pressure of living in a highly congested megalopolis are pushing entrepreneurs to seek more affordable and less stressful cities to serve as homes for their startups.

Small cities are a problem too. Necessary services may be lacking, and it’s hard to recruit quality talent.

That is why new business owners are seeking out a Goldilocks solution: micropolitan areas with up to 50,000 people, neither too near nor too far from a major metropolitan center. Census Bureau data shows that there are 536 of these micropolitan areas in the US with a population between 10,000 and 50,000 people.

ShivarWeb’s Nate Shivar has dug deep into this information to shine light on 20 of the most popular micropolitan areas for startups. Here are the top five.

5. Torrington, CT

Best Cities for Startups - Torrington

New Businesses: 382

The Torrington area has a population of 181,111, and it’s within a day’s drive from both Boston and Manhattan.

The business community includes companies like Trlby Innovative, a maker of custom impulse heat sealing equipment; and Altek Electronics, an electronic manufacturing company providing chassis and control panels.

4. Traverse City, MI

Best Cities for Startups - Traverse-City

New Businesses: 385

Traverse City is located along Lake Michigan and has a population of 149,914. The city is a top producer of cherries and other fruits. It’s regularly named one of the best small towns to retire in.

The business community includes companies such as ATLAS Space Operations, a satellite communications service; and DriveShare, an online marketplace for classic cars.

3. Key West, FL

Best Cities for Startups - Key-West

New Businesses: 387

The southernmost city in the continental US and a hub for festivals and tropical living, Key West has a population of 75,027. The business community here is centered around travel agencies and consultants, making it an ideal choice for a startup that can benefit from a strong tourism focus.

2. Lebanon, VT

Best Cities for Startups - Lebanon

New Businesses: 437

The most populous area on our top five list, Lebanon has 217,215 inhabitants and lies in the Connecticut River Valley. The city has strong transport links to Boston, which highly influences its business community.

Lebanon is home to Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth Medical Center, while hosting businesses such as the job advertising platform Appcast, the antibody discovery and optimization platform Adima, and a purification solution firm for bio-pharmaceutical companies called Avitide.

1. Bozeman, MT

Best Cities for Startups - Bozeman

New Businesses: 536

With a population of 111,876 and a location at the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, Bozeman is regularly featured at the top of lists of “Best Small Towns in America.” The city is already a popular location for entrepreneurs, and it’s experiencing constant economic growth, making it the best micropolitan area in the US.

Bozeman is home to businesses such as Schedulicity, an online appointment scheduling platform for discovering and booking local services; customer service messaging platform Quiq; and Absaroka Energy Company, a provider of clean renewable energy.

About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

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