I’m not big on ratings and rankings, but it is important to know what they say. They give a balancing perspective to local views, and at times biases. Here is one I just discovered.
The Fourth Economy Index is an independently conducted analysis intended to serve as a benchmark for community stakeholders to assess their capacity to attract and retain modern investment while also improving the resiliency of their communities in response to future economic fluctuations.
The index consists of five elements: Talent, Investment, Sustainability, Place, and Diversity. “The indicators used to represent the core elements of the Fourth Economy are chosen and weighted in order to identify communities that have a sustainable balance of all five elements” says Chrystal Alexander, a Fourth Economy Analyst working closely with this project. “Often, these are communities with plenty of access to higher education, with strong private industry investment in local talent, and a strong quality of place.” Incorporating each of these elements into community strategic planning is the key to success in the Fourth Economy.
The Fourth Economy Communities Index has been expanded for 2015, adding new quantitative and qualitative measures, including factors pertaining to overall economic resiliency of the communities, new data on micropreneurs, and more. Throughout 2015, additional segments of the FEC Index will be released to include mid-, small- and micro-sized communities. Fourth Economy released its mega-sized communities index in December of 2014.
The top 10 Large-Sized Communities for 2015 are:
Chittenden County, Vermont
Hampshire County, Massachusetts
Minnehaha County, South Dakota
Clackamas County, Oregon
Washtenaw County, Michigan
Cumberland County, Maine
Lancaster County, Nebraska
Forsyth County, North Carolina
Boone County, Missouri
Stearns County, Minnesota
In past indices, two Ohio counties have made the list: Wood and Greene Counties.