The Resilient Cities: Weathering a Recession

by Warren Seah

As headlines continue to highlight the downturn of the stock market and the soaring inflation rates, the possibility of a looming recession in America becomes increasingly apparent. With this in mind, one cannot help but wonder – is there any place safe from the effects of an economic crisis?

Although a recession inevitably impacts the entire nation, recent research conducted by SmartAsset reveals that certain cities are better equipped to weather this storm than others. By evaluating 14 essential metrics across various categories including employment, housing, social assistance & healthcare, as well as economic stability, SmartAsset has identified some of the most resilient economies among our nation’s 300 largest cities.

If you find yourself increasingly concerned about the direction in which the economy is heading, here are five cities that, according to SmartAsset’s research, may offer some solace:

1. Cary, N.C.

Cary has earned its spot on this list by boasting impressively low unemployment rates, which are just as crucial to a city’s affordability as inexpensive housing costs. In fact, Cary ranked an impressive 10th in SmartAsset’s employment category. Additionally, housing costs in this city account for only 16.28% of the median household income. Residents also have access to several public transit options, allowing them to cut costs while enjoying the abundance of free entertainment found in the city’s numerous parks and nature preserves.

2. Frisco, Texas

Located in the Dallas suburb, Frisco offers an abundance of activities and opportunities. With its expansive 9 million square feet of retail and dining options, Frisco has been rightly hailed as a “shopper’s paradise.” Sports enthusiasts will also find their bliss in this city, home to FC Dallas of major-league soccer, an affiliate of MLB’s Texas Rangers, an NBA D-League team, and the practice facility of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. Cycling enthusiasts can also find their thrill at the Frisco Superdrome, a 250-meter banked-oval track hosting various thrilling races. With such a wide array of work and play options, it is no surprise that Frisco boasts low unemployment rates and excels in healthcare accessibility and outcomes.

For those seeking shelter from the storm of a potential recession, these resilient cities hold promise. With their strong employment rates, affordable housing options, and vibrant opportunities, they provide a glimmer of hope amidst uncertain times.

Santa Clara County boasts the highest annualized GDP growth rate among the cities included in SmartAsset’s study. It also has the lowest mortgage delinquency rate compared to other surveyed cities. This city, recognized as an All-America City, offers an array of dining options and is home to the renowned Westfield Valley Fair Mall, a popular shopping destination. Moreover, Santa Clara University holds the distinction of being the oldest institution of higher learning in California.

4. Sunnyvale, Calif.

Situated south of Palo Alto and directly north of Cupertino, Sunnyvale may be unfamiliar to many beyond Silicon Valley. However, this close-knit city with a population of approximately 150,000 lives up to its name in terms of both weather and personality. Notably, major companies like LinkedIn and Yahoo have chosen Sunnyvale as their base of operations. In fact, even during 2020, when numerous cities faced economic downturns, Sunnyvale maintained an unemployment rate below 4% as reported by SmartAsset.

5. Fort Collins, Colo.

Fort Collins has earned a spot on our list of the top 100 best places to live in 2023, primarily due to its thriving business community. This community boasts prominent employers such as Anheuser Busch, Hewlett Packard, and Wells Fargo. Additionally, Fort Collins fosters a supportive environment for entrepreneurial ventures through organizations like the Larimer Small Business Development Support Center and the Rocky Mountain Innosphere, a technology incubator. Residents of Fort Collins lead active lifestyles and take advantage of the city’s abundance of outdoor recreational activities, including biking, hiking, and white-water rafting. Furthermore, an impressive 94% of residents have health insurance according to SmartAsset.

To learn more about SmartAsset’s research on resilient economies and their methodology for identifying the most resilient cities, please visit the link provided.

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