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Old 08-15-2011, 07:45 PM
 
400 posts, read 552,553 times
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Whenever the topic of ranking cities comes up on this site, there are always people who rely upon subjective opinions and incorrect assumptions to make their rankings. This is frustrating to those of us who rely upon objective statistics to rank cities. For the most part, cities can be ranked entirely based on objective statistics that are available to all of us. And because these statistics are rooted in objective, fact-based data, when presented with these statistics, we should all be able to agree on the ranking. At least, those of us who believe in objective facts and data should be able to agree.

There was a recent thread about ranking cities in the Midwest, wherein some people made some pretty outrageous claims, severely under-ranking or over-ranking certain cities. I don't know if this is due to sheer ignorance of the data or whether people are aware of the data, but choose to ignore it due to their own subjective opinions. Whatever the case may be, I thought that I would create a thread to rank the top 10 cities in the Midwest based on objective, fact-based statistical data, so that people who care about facts and data can have a thread showing how the major cities of the Midwest really do rank compared to each other.

I love the Midwest. I've lived here all of my life. It's the region of the country that I know the most about. Therefore, I feel confident in my ability to rank the major cities of the Midwest. I don't really need confidence, since I'm relying on statistical data, but I nevertheless feel confident that I understand this region well enough to write about it.

Why Top 10 cities?

The Midwest is unique in that there are exactly 10 cities that dominate the region. These 10 cities are:

Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
Columbus
Detroit
Indianapolis
Kansas City
Milwaukee
Minneapolis
St. Louis

(listed in alphabetical order)

These ten are the only Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the Midwest that are over 1 million in population. There are other cities that include parts of the Midwest in their metro area, but are based in another region. Louisville, KY, for example, is based in the South but has portions of its metro area in the Midwest. I am only including metro areas that are based in the Midwest.

I also chose these 10 cities because these are the only cities in the Midwest that are classified as national business centers in Rand McNally's Ranally city rating system. The Ranally city rating system is a well-regarded city rating system that is used by Rand McNally to classify U.S. cities based on their economic function. In the Ranally city rating system, Chicago is ranked 1-AAA, which is the highest ranking of any Midwest city. Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, and St. Louis are ranked 1-AA. Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Milwaukee are ranked 1-A.

For the definition of the Midwest, I use the U.S. Census Bureau's official definition of the region, which is the 12-state region stretching from Ohio on the east to Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota on the west. The region includes the states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Not only is this the official Census Bureau definition of the Midwest, but I can tell you as a Midwesterner, it is also the best and only real definition of the true "cultural" Midwest. Border states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana might have portions that are influenced by the Midwest, but none of them are truly Midwestern in character. The Census Bureau's 12-state Midwest region is the best, and in my opinion, the only true definition of the Midwest.

Ranking Criteria

To rank the top 10 cities in the Midwest, I am going to use data that shows the economic and population influence of each metro area. The population data that I will be using are Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Combined Statistical Areas. Metropolitan areas show the population of the core city, or cities, and its suburbs and exurbs. Combined Statistical Areas show the population of the metropolitan area plus adjacent metropolitan and/or micropolitan areas that are strongly tied to the larger metro area.

The economic data that I will be using are Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Metropolitan Area and Total Personal Income by Metropolitan Area. GDP by metropolitan area shows the total economic output of the metropolitan area's goods and services. Total Personal Income by metropolitan area shows the sum of all income of all persons in the metropolitan area.

Population Data

Metropolian Statistical Areas (MSA)

This is a list of the ten cities ranked in order of their MSA population in 2010:

1. Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA: 9,461,105
2. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI MSA: 4,296,250
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA: 3,279,833
4. St. Louis, MO-IL MSA: 2,812,896
5. Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA: 2,130,151
6. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA: 2,077,240
7. Kansas City, MO-KS MSA: 2,035,334
8. Columbus, OH MSA: 1,836,536
9. Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA: 1,756,241
10. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI MSA: 1,555,908

Combined Statistical Areas (CSA)

This is a list of the ten cities ranked in order of their CSA population in 2010:

1. Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, IL-IN-WI CSA: 9,686,021
2. Detroit-Warren-Flint, MI CSA: 5,218,852
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul-St. Cloud, MN-WI CSA: 3,615,902
4. Cleveland-Akron-Elyria, OH CSA: 2,881,937
5. St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, MO-IL CSA: 2,878,255
6. Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, OH-KY-IN CSA: 2,172,191
7. Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS CSA: 2,104,853
8. Indianapolis-Anderson-Columbus, IN CSA: 2,080,782
9. Columbus-Marion-Chillicothe, OH CSA: 2,071,052
10. Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, WI CSA: 1,751,316

Population Analysis

Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis are the top three in both the MSA and CSA categories. After that, the ranking is different for the MSA and CSA. The Cleveland CSA is significantly larger than the Cleveland MSA, due to the Akron MSA being included in the Cleveland CSA. Akron functions essentially as part of the Cleveland metro area, but technically it has its own metro area. The St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Kansas City MSA's are similar in population to their CSA's, since none of the three cities has an adjacent metro area of considerable size (Dayton is close to Cincinnati, but not close enough to be part of Cincinnati's CSA). Indianapolis, Columbus, and Milwaukee increase quite a bit more in their CSA as compared to their MSA. Indianapolis, in particular, adds over 320,000 people in its CSA that are not present in its MSA. That brings Indianapolis' CSA to nearly the same size as Kansas City's and Cincinnati's CSA's, even though Indianapolis' MSA lags Kansas City's and Cincinnati's MSA's by a considerable margin.

Looking at the population numbers more broadly, we can see a few basic themes.

1. The top three are, in order of their population: Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
2. There is a considerable gap between Minneapolis-St. Paul at #3 and the #4 spot, which is occupied by St. Louis in the MSA list and Cleveland in the CSA list.
3. Cleveland's CSA is significantly larger than its MSA.
4. Cincinnati, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Columbus are fairly close in population in both lists, but Cincinnati and Kansas City are ahead of Indianapolis and Columbus in both lists as well.
5. Milwaukee is #10 in both lists.

The question of how to deal with Cleveland is a complicated one. Cleveland's MSA is very small in area, therefore its population is only 2,077,240. This puts Cleveland below Cincinnati in MSA population. But the Greater Cleveland region, which includes the Akron MSA as well as nearby cities like Canton and Youngstown, is much bigger than 2 million. It is really not fair to Cleveland, and it's not even accurate geographically, to compare Cleveland's MSA to the other cities' MSA's. The Akron MSA is undoubtedly part of the Cleveland metro area, even if it is not technically part of Cleveland's MSA. But the Akron MSA is included in the Cleveland CSA, which is why the Cleveland CSA has a population of 2.8 million. I believe that it is more accurate to use the Cleveland CSA number as a proxy for Cleveland's true metro area. The Cleveland MSA number is simply a deceiving number that doesn't really tell you how big the Cleveland metro really is.

More broadly, just using the example of Cleveland's MSA vs. CSA population, it is clear that the CSA population numbers are a better indication of a metro area's true population. Therefore, when ranking these cities, I'm going to give more importance to the CSA population numbers than the MSA population numbers, although I will take both the MSA and CSA numbers into account.

Economic Data

GDP by Metropolitan Area

The following is a list of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in current dollars for all ten metro areas, from 2006-2009. For Cleveland, I also included the GDP for the Akron, OH MSA and the GDP for the combined Cleveland-Akron metro.

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA:

2006: $498,357,000
2007: $522,030,000
2008: $523,855,000
2009: $508,712,000

Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI MSA:

2006: $198,493,000
2007: $204,279,000
2008: $197,149,000
2009: $185,800,000

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA:

2006: $182,400,000
2007: $189,371,000
2008: $192,826,000
2009: $189,801,000

St. Louis, MO-IL MSA:

2006: $119,008,000
2007: $123,544,000
2008: $128,318,000
2009: $124,558,000

Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA:

2006: $100,205,000
2007: $103,715,000
2008: $104,943,000
2009: $103,020,000

Akron, OH MSA:

2006: $26,148,000
2007: $27,160,000
2008: $27,484,000
2009: $26,944,000

GDP for Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA combined with Akron, OH MSA:

2006: $126,353,000
2007: $130,875,000
2008: $132,427,000
2009: $129,964,000

Kansas City, MO-KS MSA:

2006: $95,762,000
2007: $101,017,000
2008: $103,346,000
2009: $103,137,000

Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA:

2006: $93,347,000
2007: $97,443,000
2008: $98,878,000
2009: $98,260,000

Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA:

2006: $93,035,000
2007: $97,256,000
2008: $99,109,000
2009: $98,799,000

Columbus, OH MSA:

2006: $85,683,000
2007: $89,535,000
2008: $89,990,000
2009: $91,308,000

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI MSA:

2006: $78,902,000
2007: $81,398,000
2008: $83,408,000
2009: $82,692,000

Since these numbers have fluctuated between 2006 and 2009 due to the economy, I believe that the most fair thing to do to compare the cities' economies to each other is take an average of all four years for each metro area and compare those averages. Each metro area's GDP numbers were added for all four years and divided by four. This is the resulting average GDP for each metro area from 2006-2009, listed in order from highest to lowest:

1. Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA: $513,238,500
2. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI MSA: $196,430,250
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA: $188,599,500
4. St. Louis, MO-IL MSA: $123,857,000
5. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA: $102,970,750
Akron, OH MSA: $26,934,000
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA combined with Akron, OH MSA: $129,904,750
6. Kansas City, MO-KS MSA: $100,815,500
7. Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA: $97,049,750
8. Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA: $96,982,000
9. Columbus, OH MSA: $89,129,000
10. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI MSA: $81,600,000

Total Personal Income by Metropolitan Area

The following is a list of the Total Personal Income for all ten metro areas, from 2008-2010. For Cleveland, I also included the Total Personal Income for the Akron, OH MSA and the Total Personal Income for the combined Cleveland-Akron metro. Total personal income is the sum of all income of all persons in the metropolitan area.

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA:

2008: $438,902,000
2009: $425,178,000
2010: $435,413,000

Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI MSA:

2008: $175,014,000
2009: $167,009,000
2010: $170,618,000

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA:

2008: $154,421,000
2009: $149,795,000
2010: $154,479,000

St. Louis, MO-IL MSA:

2008: $119,122,000
2009: $115,220,000
2010: $117,421,000

Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA:

2008: $84,553,000
2009: $82,503,000
2010: $84,854,000

Akron, OH MSA:

2008: $26,510,000
2009: $25,944,000
2010: $26,667,000

Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA combined with Akron, OH MSA:

2008: $111,063,000
2009: $108,447,000
2010: $111,521,000

Kansas City, MO-KS MSA:

2008: $84,584,000
2009: $83,610,000
2010: $85,217,000

Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA:

2008: $84,080,000
2009: $82,460,000
2010: $84,611,000

Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA:

2008: $68,537,000
2009: $67,187,000
2010: $69,228,000

Columbus, OH MSA:

2008: $68,777,000
2009: $68,469,000
2010: $70,609,000

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI MSA:

2008: $66,671,000
2009: $65,978,000
2010: $67,767,000

Just as with the GDP by metropolitan area numbers, I am going to calculate the average Total Personal Income for each metro area for the years 2008-2010. I will do this by adding up all of the totals for each year for each metro area and dividing by three. This is the resulting Average Total Personal Income for each metro area from 2008-2010, listed in order from highest to lowest:

1. Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA: $433,164,333
2. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI MSA: $170,880,333
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA: $152,898,333
4. St. Louis, MO-IL MSA: $117,254,333
5. Kansas City, MO-KS MSA: $84,470,333
6. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA: $83,970,000
Akron, OH MSA: $26,373,667
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA combined with Akron, OH MSA: $110,343,667
7. Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA: $83,717,000
8. Columbus, OH MSA: $69,285,000
9. Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA: $68,317,333
10. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI MSA: $66,805,333

Economic Analysis

As with the population numbers, the top three metro areas for GDP and Total Personal Income are the same: Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis, in that order. And once again, as with the population numbers, there is a considerable gap between Minneapolis at the #3 position and the #4 position, which is occupied by St. Louis in both the GDP and Total Personal Income categories.

Milwaukee is once again at #10 in both economic categories, just as it was in both population categories.

Cleveland, as was discussed earlier, has a very small MSA area. Therefore, the GDP and Total Personal Income of the Cleveland MSA is smaller than what it should be compared to peer cities like St. Louis. That is why I included the Akron MSA GDP and Total Personal Income and created a combined category for Cleveland-Akron. When looking at the combined Cleveland-Akron category, which has about the same population as the St. Louis metro area, the GDP of the Cleveland-Akron metro is slightly larger than the GDP of the St. Louis metro, but the Total Personal Income of the Cleveland-Akron metro is smaller than the Total Personal Income of the St. Louis metro.

Some people are going to question creating a separate category for Cleveland that includes the Akron MSA. But I already stated the reason for doing that. It is because if you ONLY compare MSA's, it short-changes Cleveland significantly. Adding the Akron MSA to the Cleveland MSA gives a more accurate representation for what the true population of the Cleveland metro really is, and allows one to compare Cleveland's metro area population and economic data to that of other MSA's like St. Louis, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Columbus, all of which have much larger MSA's in geographic area than the Cleveland MSA.

Kansas City's MSA GDP and Total Personal Income is higher than Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Columbus. When looking at the population data earlier, Kansas City was in the middle of the pack between Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Columbus. But the economic data clearly distinguishes Kansas City and puts it a notch ahead of those three other peer cities. Kansas City was already ahead of Indianapolis and Columbus in both MSA and CSA population numbers, but the fact that it is ahead in both GDP and Total Personal Income as well makes it clearly stand out.

Conclusion

So after all of this discussion, after laying out all of the data, we can finally make a determination about how to rank these ten cities one though ten. Remember, there are four criteria: two population metrics and two economic metrics. The four criteria are MSA population, CSA population, GDP by metro area, and Total Personal Income by metro area.

It is obvious that the top three are, in order: Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. The population and economic data confirms this. This is not up for debate. Chicago is head-and-shoulders above the rest at #1. Detroit, while lagging economically, is still much larger in both its MSA and CSA than Minneapolis, and still has a larger GDP by metro area and a larger Total Personal Income by metro area than Minneapolis. The ONLY statistic here in which Minneapolis beats Detroit is GDP by metro area for the year 2009. For 2006, 2007, and 2008, Detroit had a higher GDP by metro area than Minneapolis. Detroit also had a significantly higher Total Personal Income by metro area for 2008, 2009, and 2010 than Minneapolis. Probably the main reason why Minneapolis had a higher GDP by metro area for the year 2009 was due to the downturn in the auto industry in 2009, which affected Detroit much more than Minneapolis. One year's GDP is not enough to put Minneapolis ahead of Detroit. All the metrics show Detroit being more dominant than Minneapolis.

The #4 position in the ranking is VERY difficult to determine. By MSA, it is St. Louis. By CSA, it is Cleveland. By GDP, it is St. Louis, unless you include the combined Cleveland-Akron metro. If you include the combined Cleveland-Akron metro, then by GDP it is Cleveland. By Total Personal Income, it is St. Louis. Even the combined Cleveland-Akron metro doesn't beat St. Louis in this category.

I said that I would give more importance to CSA population than MSA population, but Cleveland's CSA is only 3,682 people larger than St. Louis' CSA, which is hardly enough to distinguish it. On the economic metrics, they seem to balance each other out. Cleveland-Akron has a larger GDP, but St. Louis has a larger Total Personal Income. The gap between St. Louis' Total Personal Income and Cleveland-Akron's Total Personal Income is $6,910,666. The gap between Cleveland-Akron's GDP and St. Louis' GDP is $6,047,750.

I may also be understating the Cleveland metro area's true GDP and Total Personal Income, because I am only including the Akron MSA with the Cleveland MSA. My data does not include the Ashtabula micropolitan area, which is also part of the Cleveland CSA, and which contributes to the Cleveland economic region. It should also be pointed out that the Greater Northeast Ohio region, which contains not only Cleveland and Akron, but also Canton, Youngstown, and surrounding areas, has a population of over 4 million, which is much larger than the population of the region around St. Louis.

As it pertains to the economic metrics, I believe that the GDP data is more important than the Total Personal Income data. Total Personal Income includes things like investment income and Social Security income. GDP, on the other hand, shows the total economic output of the metropolitan area's goods and services.

Therefore, because the Cleveland CSA is slightly larger than the St. Louis CSA, and because Cleveland-Akron's GDP is larger than St. Louis' GDP, I am going to rank Cleveland as #4 and St. Louis as #5. But no matter what they are ranked, the gap between these two cities is not very large at all.

We already know that #10 is Milwaukee, since Milwaukee was ranked #10 in all four categories. So that leaves Kansas City, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Columbus to fill numbers 6, 7, 8 and 9.

Once again, we find a group of cities that are very close in population and economic numbers. Of these four cities, Cincinnati has the largest MSA and CSA. But Kansas City has the largest GDP and Total Personal Income. #6 is going to be either Cincinnati or Kansas City. But which one?

The gap between the Cincinnati MSA and the Kansas City MSA is only 94,817 residents. The gap between the Cincinnati CSA and the Kansas City CSA is even smaller, at 67,338 residents. Cincinnati beats Kansas City on both counts. But the economic numbers look better for Kansas City. Even though the Kansas City MSA is smaller than the Cincinnati MSA, Kansas City MSA's average GDP from 2006-2009 is $4.8 million larger than Cincinnati's. Kansas City's Average Total Personal Income from 2008-2010 is also larger than Cincinnati's.

Therefore, I am going to rank Kansas City slightly ahead of Cincinnati. If Cincinnati's GDP was the same (or larger) than Kansas City, I would rank Cincinnati ahead of Kansas City. The slightly lower MSA and CSA population of Kansas City relative to Cincinnati is made up for by Kansas City's higher GDP relative to Cincinnati. So Kansas City is #6, and Cincinnati is #7.

That leaves Indianapolis and Columbus to battle for #8 and #9. Amazingly, it is another case of two cities that are almost identical in population and economic numbers. Columbus' MSA is larger than Indianapolis' MSA, but Indianapolis' CSA is larger than Columbus' CSA. Indianapolis' GDP is larger than Columbus' GDP, but Columbus' Total Personal Income is larger than Indianapolis' Total Personal Income. Because I'm giving more importance to CSA population than MSA population (because CSA gives a better representation of a metro area's true population), and more importance to GDP than Total Personal Income (because GDP is a better reflection of the true economic might of a metro area), the edge in this analysis goes to Indianapolis. Indianapolis has a larger CSA and a larger GDP than Columbus. Indianapolis' GDP, in particular, is significantly larger than Columbus' GDP, by about $8 million dollars.

So there it is. The top ten cities in the Midwest ranked by their economic and population influence.

Final Ranking

Top 10 Midwest Cities Ranked by Economic and Population Influence

1. Chicago
2. Detroit
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul
4. Cleveland
5. St. Louis
6. Kansas City
7. Cincinnati
8. Indianapolis
9. Columbus
10. Milwaukee

Fun Factoids

The five cities in the Midwest that have Federal Reserve Banks (Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Kansas City) make up five of the top six cities in my list.

The top three cities in my list (Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul) are the only Midwest cities that have sports franchises in all four major sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL).

Sources

Midwestern United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ranally city rating system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Table of United States Metropolitan Statistical Areas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Table of United States Combined Statistical Areas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

News Release: GDP by Metropolitan Area, Advance 2009, and Revised 2001–2008

BEA: News Release: Personal Income for Metropolitan Areas, 2010
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,992 posts, read 7,204,189 times
Reputation: 2954
Blue Earth, great post, and great username . This was probably the most detailed breakdown of anything I've ever seen on this forum. Hopefully this ends the arguments about which cities are the top in the Midwest (although I know it won't). People have their own personal preferences that they will argue out, just like they have been doing here for years.

Obviously, my personal top ten -- the Midwestern areas I'd most like to live -- is radically different from your list, but that is just based on what I like and not any empirical, objective data. I wouldn't claim that Mankato or Iowa City are among the top cities in the Midwest.
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:52 PM
 
Location: OKIE-Ville
4,294 posts, read 4,052,680 times
Reputation: 2184
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Earth View Post
Whenever the topic of ranking cities comes up on this site, there are always people who rely upon subjective opinions and incorrect assumptions to make their rankings. This is frustrating to those of us who rely upon objective statistics to rank cities. For the most part, cities can be ranked entirely based on objective statistics that are available to all of us. And because these statistics are rooted in objective, fact-based data, when presented with these statistics, we should all be able to agree on the ranking. At least, those of us who believe in objective facts and data should be able to agree.

There was a recent thread about ranking cities in the Midwest, wherein some people made some pretty outrageous claims, severely under-ranking or over-ranking certain cities. I don't know if this is due to sheer ignorance of the data or whether people are aware of the data, but choose to ignore it due to their own subjective opinions. Whatever the case may be, I thought that I would create a thread to rank the top 10 cities in the Midwest based on objective, fact-based statistical data, so that people who care about facts and data can have a thread showing how the major cities of the Midwest really do rank compared to each other.

I love the Midwest. I've lived here all of my life. It's the region of the country that I know the most about. Therefore, I feel confident in my ability to rank the major cities of the Midwest. I don't really need confidence, since I'm relying on statistical data, but I nevertheless feel confident that I understand this region well enough to write about it.

Why Top 10 cities?

The Midwest is unique in that there are exactly 10 cities that dominate the region. These 10 cities are:

Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
Columbus
Detroit
Indianapolis
Kansas City
Milwaukee
Minneapolis
St. Louis

(listed in alphabetical order)

These ten are the only Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the Midwest that are over 1 million in population. There are other cities that include parts of the Midwest in their metro area, but are based in another region. Louisville, KY, for example, is based in the South but has portions of its metro area in the Midwest. I am only including metro areas that are based in the Midwest.

I also chose these 10 cities because these are the only cities in the Midwest that are classified as national business centers in Rand McNally's Ranally city rating system. The Ranally city rating system is a well-regarded city rating system that is used by Rand McNally to classify U.S. cities based on their economic function. In the Ranally city rating system, Chicago is ranked 1-AAA, which is the highest ranking of any Midwest city. Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, and St. Louis are ranked 1-AA. Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Milwaukee are ranked 1-A.

For the definition of the Midwest, I use the U.S. Census Bureau's official definition of the region, which is the 12-state region stretching from Ohio on the east to Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota on the west. The region includes the states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Not only is this the official Census Bureau definition of the Midwest, but I can tell you as a Midwesterner, it is also the best and only real definition of the true "cultural" Midwest. Border states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana might have portions that are influenced by the Midwest, but none of them are truly Midwestern in character. The Census Bureau's 12-state Midwest region is the best, and in my opinion, the only true definition of the Midwest.

Ranking Criteria

To rank the top 10 cities in the Midwest, I am going to use data that shows the economic and population influence of each metro area. The population data that I will be using are Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Combined Statistical Areas. Metropolitan areas show the population of the core city, or cities, and its suburbs and exurbs. Combined Statistical Areas show the population of the metropolitan area plus adjacent metropolitan and/or micropolitan areas that are strongly tied to the larger metro area.

The economic data that I will be using are Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Metropolitan Area and Total Personal Income by Metropolitan Area. GDP by metropolitan area shows the total economic output of the metropolitan area's goods and services. Total Personal Income by metropolitan area shows the sum of all income of all persons in the metropolitan area.

Population Data

Metropolian Statistical Areas (MSA)

This is a list of the ten cities ranked in order of their MSA population in 2010:

1. Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA: 9,461,105
2. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI MSA: 4,296,250
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA: 3,279,833
4. St. Louis, MO-IL MSA: 2,812,896
5. Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA: 2,130,151
6. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA: 2,077,240
7. Kansas City, MO-KS MSA: 2,035,334
8. Columbus, OH MSA: 1,836,536
9. Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA: 1,756,241
10. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI MSA: 1,555,908

Combined Statistical Areas (CSA)

This is a list of the ten cities ranked in order of their CSA population in 2010:

1. Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, IL-IN-WI CSA: 9,686,021
2. Detroit-Warren-Flint, MI CSA: 5,218,852
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul-St. Cloud, MN-WI CSA: 3,615,902
4. Cleveland-Akron-Elyria, OH CSA: 2,881,937
5. St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, MO-IL CSA: 2,878,255
6. Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, OH-KY-IN CSA: 2,172,191
7. Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS CSA: 2,104,853
8. Indianapolis-Anderson-Columbus, IN CSA: 2,080,782
9. Columbus-Marion-Chillicothe, OH CSA: 2,071,052
10. Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, WI CSA: 1,751,316

Population Analysis

Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis are the top three in both the MSA and CSA categories. After that, the ranking is different for the MSA and CSA. The Cleveland CSA is significantly larger than the Cleveland MSA, due to the Akron MSA being included in the Cleveland CSA. Akron functions essentially as part of the Cleveland metro area, but technically it has its own metro area. The St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Kansas City MSA's are similar in population to their CSA's, since none of the three cities has an adjacent metro area of considerable size (Dayton is close to Cincinnati, but not close enough to be part of Cincinnati's CSA). Indianapolis, Columbus, and Milwaukee increase quite a bit more in their CSA as compared to their MSA. Indianapolis, in particular, adds over 320,000 people in its CSA that are not present in its MSA. That brings Indianapolis' CSA to nearly the same size as Kansas City's and Cincinnati's CSA's, even though Indianapolis' MSA lags Kansas City's and Cincinnati's MSA's by a considerable margin.

Looking at the population numbers more broadly, we can see a few basic themes.

1. The top three are, in order of their population: Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
2. There is a considerable gap between Minneapolis-St. Paul at #3 and the #4 spot, which is occupied by St. Louis in the MSA list and Cleveland in the CSA list.
3. Cleveland's CSA is significantly larger than its MSA.
4. Cincinnati, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Columbus are fairly close in population in both lists, but Cincinnati and Kansas City are ahead of Indianapolis and Columbus in both lists as well.
5. Milwaukee is #10 in both lists.

The question of how to deal with Cleveland is a complicated one. Cleveland's MSA is very small in area, therefore its population is only 2,077,240. This puts Cleveland below Cincinnati in MSA population. But the Greater Cleveland region, which includes the Akron MSA as well as nearby cities like Canton and Youngstown, is much bigger than 2 million. It is really not fair to Cleveland, and it's not even accurate geographically, to compare Cleveland's MSA to the other cities' MSA's. The Akron MSA is undoubtedly part of the Cleveland metro area, even if it is not technically part of Cleveland's MSA. But the Akron MSA is included in the Cleveland CSA, which is why the Cleveland CSA has a population of 2.8 million. I believe that it is more accurate to use the Cleveland CSA number as a proxy for Cleveland's true metro area. The Cleveland MSA number is simply a deceiving number that doesn't really tell you how big the Cleveland metro really is.

More broadly, just using the example of Cleveland's MSA vs. CSA population, it is clear that the CSA population numbers are a better indication of a metro area's true population. Therefore, when ranking these cities, I'm going to give more importance to the CSA population numbers than the MSA population numbers, although I will take both the MSA and CSA numbers into account.

Economic Data

GDP by Metropolitan Area

The following is a list of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in current dollars for all ten metro areas, from 2006-2009. For Cleveland, I also included the GDP for the Akron, OH MSA and the GDP for the combined Cleveland-Akron metro.

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA:

2006: $498,357,000
2007: $522,030,000
2008: $523,855,000
2009: $508,712,000

Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI MSA:

2006: $198,493,000
2007: $204,279,000
2008: $197,149,000
2009: $185,800,000

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA:

2006: $182,400,000
2007: $189,371,000
2008: $192,826,000
2009: $189,801,000

St. Louis, MO-IL MSA:

2006: $119,008,000
2007: $123,544,000
2008: $128,318,000
2009: $124,558,000

Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA:

2006: $100,205,000
2007: $103,715,000
2008: $104,943,000
2009: $103,020,000

Akron, OH MSA:

2006: $26,148,000
2007: $27,160,000
2008: $27,484,000
2009: $26,944,000

GDP for Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA combined with Akron, OH MSA:

2006: $126,353,000
2007: $130,875,000
2008: $132,427,000
2009: $129,964,000

Kansas City, MO-KS MSA:

2006: $95,762,000
2007: $101,017,000
2008: $103,346,000
2009: $103,137,000

Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA:

2006: $93,347,000
2007: $97,443,000
2008: $98,878,000
2009: $98,260,000

Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA:

2006: $93,035,000
2007: $97,256,000
2008: $99,109,000
2009: $98,799,000

Columbus, OH MSA:

2006: $85,683,000
2007: $89,535,000
2008: $89,990,000
2009: $91,308,000

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI MSA:

2006: $78,902,000
2007: $81,398,000
2008: $83,408,000
2009: $82,692,000

Since these numbers have fluctuated between 2006 and 2009 due to the economy, I believe that the most fair thing to do to compare the cities' economies to each other is take an average of all four years for each metro area and compare those averages. Each metro area's GDP numbers were added for all four years and divided by four. This is the resulting average GDP for each metro area from 2006-2009, listed in order from highest to lowest:

1. Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA: $513,238,500
2. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI MSA: $196,430,250
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA: $188,599,500
4. St. Louis, MO-IL MSA: $123,857,000
5. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA: $102,970,750
Akron, OH MSA: $26,934,000
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA combined with Akron, OH MSA: $129,904,750
6. Kansas City, MO-KS MSA: $100,815,500
7. Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA: $97,049,750
8. Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA: $96,982,000
9. Columbus, OH MSA: $89,129,000
10. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI MSA: $81,600,000

Total Personal Income by Metropolitan Area

The following is a list of the Total Personal Income for all ten metro areas, from 2008-2010. For Cleveland, I also included the Total Personal Income for the Akron, OH MSA and the Total Personal Income for the combined Cleveland-Akron metro. Total personal income is the sum of all income of all persons in the metropolitan area.

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA:

2008: $438,902,000
2009: $425,178,000
2010: $435,413,000

Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI MSA:

2008: $175,014,000
2009: $167,009,000
2010: $170,618,000

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA:

2008: $154,421,000
2009: $149,795,000
2010: $154,479,000

St. Louis, MO-IL MSA:

2008: $119,122,000
2009: $115,220,000
2010: $117,421,000

Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA:

2008: $84,553,000
2009: $82,503,000
2010: $84,854,000

Akron, OH MSA:

2008: $26,510,000
2009: $25,944,000
2010: $26,667,000

Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA combined with Akron, OH MSA:

2008: $111,063,000
2009: $108,447,000
2010: $111,521,000

Kansas City, MO-KS MSA:

2008: $84,584,000
2009: $83,610,000
2010: $85,217,000

Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA:

2008: $84,080,000
2009: $82,460,000
2010: $84,611,000

Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA:

2008: $68,537,000
2009: $67,187,000
2010: $69,228,000

Columbus, OH MSA:

2008: $68,777,000
2009: $68,469,000
2010: $70,609,000

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI MSA:

2008: $66,671,000
2009: $65,978,000
2010: $67,767,000

Just as with the GDP by metropolitan area numbers, I am going to calculate the average Total Personal Income for each metro area for the years 2008-2010. I will do this by adding up all of the totals for each year for each metro area and dividing by three. This is the resulting Average Total Personal Income for each metro area from 2008-2010, listed in order from highest to lowest:

1. Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA: $433,164,333
2. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI MSA: $170,880,333
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSA: $152,898,333
4. St. Louis, MO-IL MSA: $117,254,333
5. Kansas City, MO-KS MSA: $84,470,333
6. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA: $83,970,000
Akron, OH MSA: $26,373,667
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA combined with Akron, OH MSA: $110,343,667
7. Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA: $83,717,000
8. Columbus, OH MSA: $69,285,000
9. Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA: $68,317,333
10. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI MSA: $66,805,333

Economic Analysis

As with the population numbers, the top three metro areas for GDP and Total Personal Income are the same: Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis, in that order. And once again, as with the population numbers, there is a considerable gap between Minneapolis at the #3 position and the #4 position, which is occupied by St. Louis in both the GDP and Total Personal Income categories.

Milwaukee is once again at #10 in both economic categories, just as it was in both population categories.

Cleveland, as was discussed earlier, has a very small MSA area. Therefore, the GDP and Total Personal Income of the Cleveland MSA is smaller than what it should be compared to peer cities like St. Louis. That is why I included the Akron MSA GDP and Total Personal Income and created a combined category for Cleveland-Akron. When looking at the combined Cleveland-Akron category, which has about the same population as the St. Louis metro area, the GDP of the Cleveland-Akron metro is slightly larger than the GDP of the St. Louis metro, but the Total Personal Income of the Cleveland-Akron metro is smaller than the Total Personal Income of the St. Louis metro.

Some people are going to question creating a separate category for Cleveland that includes the Akron MSA. But I already stated the reason for doing that. It is because if you ONLY compare MSA's, it short-changes Cleveland significantly. Adding the Akron MSA to the Cleveland MSA gives a more accurate representation for what the true population of the Cleveland metro really is, and allows one to compare Cleveland's metro area population and economic data to that of other MSA's like St. Louis, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Columbus, all of which have much larger MSA's in geographic area than the Cleveland MSA.

Kansas City's MSA GDP and Total Personal Income is higher than Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Columbus. When looking at the population data earlier, Kansas City was in the middle of the pack between Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Columbus. But the economic data clearly distinguishes Kansas City and puts it a notch ahead of those three other peer cities. Kansas City was already ahead of Indianapolis and Columbus in both MSA and CSA population numbers, but the fact that it is ahead in both GDP and Total Personal Income as well makes it clearly stand out.

Conclusion

So after all of this discussion, after laying out all of the data, we can finally make a determination about how to rank these ten cities one though ten. Remember, there are four criteria: two population metrics and two economic metrics. The four criteria are MSA population, CSA population, GDP by metro area, and Total Personal Income by metro area.

It is obvious that the top three are, in order: Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. The population and economic data confirms this. This is not up for debate. Chicago is head-and-shoulders above the rest at #1. Detroit, while lagging economically, is still much larger in both its MSA and CSA than Minneapolis, and still has a larger GDP by metro area and a larger Total Personal Income by metro area than Minneapolis. The ONLY statistic here in which Minneapolis beats Detroit is GDP by metro area for the year 2009. For 2006, 2007, and 2008, Detroit had a higher GDP by metro area than Minneapolis. Detroit also had a significantly higher Total Personal Income by metro area for 2008, 2009, and 2010 than Minneapolis. Probably the main reason why Minneapolis had a higher GDP by metro area for the year 2009 was due to the downturn in the auto industry in 2009, which affected Detroit much more than Minneapolis. One year's GDP is not enough to put Minneapolis ahead of Detroit. All the metrics show Detroit being more dominant than Minneapolis.

The #4 position in the ranking is VERY difficult to determine. By MSA, it is St. Louis. By CSA, it is Cleveland. By GDP, it is St. Louis, unless you include the combined Cleveland-Akron metro. If you include the combined Cleveland-Akron metro, then by GDP it is Cleveland. By Total Personal Income, it is St. Louis. Even the combined Cleveland-Akron metro doesn't beat St. Louis in this category.

I said that I would give more importance to CSA population than MSA population, but Cleveland's CSA is only 3,682 people larger than St. Louis' CSA, which is hardly enough to distinguish it. On the economic metrics, they seem to balance each other out. Cleveland-Akron has a larger GDP, but St. Louis has a larger Total Personal Income. The gap between St. Louis' Total Personal Income and Cleveland-Akron's Total Personal Income is $6,910,666. The gap between Cleveland-Akron's GDP and St. Louis' GDP is $6,047,750.

I may also be understating the Cleveland metro area's true GDP and Total Personal Income, because I am only including the Akron MSA with the Cleveland MSA. My data does not include the Ashtabula micropolitan area, which is also part of the Cleveland CSA, and which contributes to the Cleveland economic region. It should also be pointed out that the Greater Northeast Ohio region, which contains not only Cleveland and Akron, but also Canton, Youngstown, and surrounding areas, has a population of over 4 million, which is much larger than the population of the region around St. Louis.

As it pertains to the economic metrics, I believe that the GDP data is more important than the Total Personal Income data. Total Personal Income includes things like investment income and Social Security income. GDP, on the other hand, shows the total economic output of the metropolitan area's goods and services.

Therefore, because the Cleveland CSA is slightly larger than the St. Louis CSA, and because Cleveland-Akron's GDP is larger than St. Louis' GDP, I am going to rank Cleveland as #4 and St. Louis as #5. But no matter what they are ranked, the gap between these two cities is not very large at all.

We already know that #10 is Milwaukee, since Milwaukee was ranked #10 in all four categories. So that leaves Kansas City, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Columbus to fill numbers 6, 7, 8 and 9.

Once again, we find a group of cities that are very close in population and economic numbers. Of these four cities, Cincinnati has the largest MSA and CSA. But Kansas City has the largest GDP and Total Personal Income. #6 is going to be either Cincinnati or Kansas City. But which one?

The gap between the Cincinnati MSA and the Kansas City MSA is only 94,817 residents. The gap between the Cincinnati CSA and the Kansas City CSA is even smaller, at 67,338 residents. Cincinnati beats Kansas City on both counts. But the economic numbers look better for Kansas City. Even though the Kansas City MSA is smaller than the Cincinnati MSA, Kansas City MSA's average GDP from 2006-2009 is $4.8 million larger than Cincinnati's. Kansas City's Average Total Personal Income from 2008-2010 is also larger than Cincinnati's.

Therefore, I am going to rank Kansas City slightly ahead of Cincinnati. If Cincinnati's GDP was the same (or larger) than Kansas City, I would rank Cincinnati ahead of Kansas City. The slightly lower MSA and CSA population of Kansas City relative to Cincinnati is made up for by Kansas City's higher GDP relative to Cincinnati. So Kansas City is #6, and Cincinnati is #7.

That leaves Indianapolis and Columbus to battle for #8 and #9. Amazingly, it is another case of two cities that are almost identical in population and economic numbers. Columbus' MSA is larger than Indianapolis' MSA, but Indianapolis' CSA is larger than Columbus' CSA. Indianapolis' GDP is larger than Columbus' GDP, but Columbus' Total Personal Income is larger than Indianapolis' Total Personal Income. Because I'm giving more importance to CSA population than MSA population (because CSA gives a better representation of a metro area's true population), and more importance to GDP than Total Personal Income (because GDP is a better reflection of the true economic might of a metro area), the edge in this analysis goes to Indianapolis. Indianapolis has a larger CSA and a larger GDP than Columbus. Indianapolis' GDP, in particular, is significantly larger than Columbus' GDP, by about $8 million dollars.

So there it is. The top ten cities in the Midwest ranked by their economic and population influence.

Final Ranking

Top 10 Midwest Cities Ranked by Economic and Population Influence

1. Chicago
2. Detroit
3. Minneapolis-St. Paul
4. Cleveland
5. St. Louis
6. Kansas City
7. Cincinnati
8. Indianapolis
9. Columbus
10. Milwaukee

Fun Factoids

The five cities in the Midwest that have Federal Reserve Banks (Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Kansas City) make up five of the top six cities in my list.

The top three cities in my list (Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis-St. Paul) are the only Midwest cities that have sports franchises in all four major sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL).

Sources

Midwestern United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ranally city rating system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Table of United States Metropolitan Statistical Areas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Table of United States Combined Statistical Areas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

News Release: GDP by Metropolitan Area, Advance 2009, and Revised 2001–2008

BEA: News Release: Personal Income for Metropolitan Areas, 2010
>>>>>
Not only is this the official Census Bureau definition of the Midwest, but I can tell you as a Midwesterner, it is also the best and only real definition of the true "cultural" Midwest. Border states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana might have portions that are influenced by the Midwest, but none of them are truly Midwestern in character.
<<<<<

Absolutely. Great to hear a true Midwesterner make this clear for folks that are, for whatever reason, deficient in their understanding of regions and regional culture/affiliation.

Great post. Keep the clear teaching coming.
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:42 AM
 
261 posts, read 302,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bass&Catfish2008 View Post
>>>>>
Not only is this the official Census Bureau definition of the Midwest, but I can tell you as a Midwesterner, it is also the best and only real definition of the true "cultural" Midwest. Border states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana might have portions that are influenced by the Midwest, but none of them are truly Midwestern in character.
<<<<<

Absolutely. Great to hear a true Midwesterner make this clear for folks that are, for whatever reason, deficient in their understanding of regions and regional culture/affiliation.

Great post. Keep the clear teaching coming.
I agree. Ohio however seems like a mixed bag though as in it doesn't feel truly Midwestern inside the state as a whole. The state is dominated by several cities with different histories and foundations. Cleveland (particularly east side) has some areas that are Northeastern in character (town squares, Tudors, hilly valleys, etc) while Toledo despite being 2 or so hours away doesn't have significant presence of any of those traits at all (pretty flat, quite rural, etc). In Cincinnati you have a slight Southern Appalachian influence and hills and density that's almost non-existent up in Cleveland.
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:55 AM
 
Location: Illinois
552 posts, read 417,061 times
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Kudos for all of the data and statistics. Thanks for going to this much work to compile the information. Too bad the places I want to live are pretty much unlisted (Des Moines, Iowa City, Champaign-Urbana) but they can't even compare size wise. Oh well.
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Old 08-16-2011, 02:00 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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I do like it when people get statistical!

That said I think there are other things that can be measures, and that are of interest, than population and economic dominance. So the top ten you list is the top ten for terms meant, and I like that you have real terms than fuzzy subjectivity, but I could see not thinking of them as "top ten" in some other terms. Like maybe someone would wish to go by per-capita-income, income growth, and unemployment or something.
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:51 PM
 
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Have to admit that was very good and well thought out. What I would add though would be per capita gdp. Gross GDP is highly population dependent as it's half its equation so the larger populations should have the higher gross gdp unless it's just a really bad area. Per capita GDP would show more precisely where an area is compared to its peers in terms of true economic vitality.

You also, kept intermingling Cleveland MSA with its combined MSA. If it's combined for one, then it should be combined for all and not just Cleveland. My take is, should only be MSA across the board and not Combined. If that were the case then you would also want to break down Chicago into its three Metropolitan Divisions.

Your personal income is only half of the equation you are wanting. When dealing with personal income you also have to factor in Cost of Living for each area as all 10 areas have different price points for the exact same in amenities. Taking a house for instance, The personal income required for a house in Indianapolis that has 4 br, 2 1/2 baths, 2 car garage and 2800 sq ft is going to be a lot lower than the same house with the exact same dimensions in Chicago due to COL which includes, income, all taxes (state, local, property) and what's required to maintain them. Selling price in both areas: Indy 144k-180k on average across all neighborhoods. Chicago: 250-350k on average across all neighborhoods. That's a big difference and must be accounted for.

Your post is great and I really like it. You put a lot of thought and preparation into it.
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:07 PM
 
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good info, although i'd put st. louis a hair above cleveland.
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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Another thing, just thinking about it to factor is in population +/-. Population fluctuation is a good indicator to the vitality of the region. Population gain is of course good where as a decline in population is not and continued population decline is normally a sign that the region is not doing as well as it could economically.
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Old 08-16-2011, 02:00 PM
 
518 posts, read 559,642 times
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WOW!! That was so much information. Great job and great info. Thanks!
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