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Fort Worth Tops Charts Among Pro-Growth U.S. Cities, According to Study

September 7,2023

See full Fort Worth Texas Magazine article by FWTX Staff here.

The Pacific Research Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank based in Sacramento, California, ranked the top 50 most populous cities that promote pro-growth policies, encourage entrepreneurship, and provide core public services efficiently.

No. 1 on the list: Fort Worth.

The rankings of the “Free Cities Index,” produced by the PRI’s Free Cities Center, are predicated on a pro-growth policy criterion, judging the nation's 50 most populous cities based on whether they levy less burdensome taxes on businesses and individuals, impose a less costly regulatory environment, and efficiently provide core public services.

Based on these factors, the following cities ranked as the top five pro-growth cities, according to a press release:

1. Fort Worth

2. Austin

3. Colorado Springs, Colorado

4. Raleigh, North Carolina

5. Charlotte, North Carolina

Texas has seven cities in the top 25, including Arlington at No. 11 and Dallas at No. 23.

“Families desire cities that are affordable, foster economic opportunities, and offer residents a high quality of life. The Free Cities Index rankings show that the cities that are offering these attributes are growing in population,” said Dr. Wayne Winegarden, PRI senior fellow in business and economics and the index author, in a statement. "By the same token, cities that levy less burdensome taxes, impose a less costly regulatory environment, and efficiently provide core public services are attracting employers, investment, jobs, and tax revenue."

Though claiming to be nonpartisan, the Pacific Research Institute clearly has a philosophy it advocates, openly declaring that it “champions freedom, opportunity, and personal responsibility by advancing free-market policy ideas.”

The “PRI's Free Cities Center cultivates innovative ideas to improve urban life based around freedom and property rights — not government,” according to the press release.

Pro Growth Cities PRI.pngPRI
Between July 2021 and July 2022, Fort Worth added more than 19,000 residents, more than any other U.S. city. Fort Worth, with just below 957,000 in population, is the 13th-largest city in the country, just behind, San Jose, California, Jacksonville, Florida, and Austin.

The city is projected to eclipse one million in population by 2030 and surpass Dallas by 2045, according to U.S. Census Bureau forecasts.

As a region, Fort Worth-Dallas is projected to become the third-largest metro in the U.S. in the 2030s. The area will also, sooner rather than later, be the only U.S. metropolitan area to house two cities with populations over one million.

Axios recently made an examination of the North Texas region’s population trends.

Fort Worth is in the midst of reforming its permitting processes through the new City Hall.

According to the Free Cities Index author, the top ranked cities performed well across most of the policy criteria, indicating that it is not one policy area driving the rankings of the top performers. No city was ranked toward the top of every category, showing that every city has room for improvement.

The authors said the study illustrates that, according to population trends, people are flocking to pro-growth cities and regions. Find the entire study here.

“These population trends provide important feedback for state and local policy leaders,” said Winegarden. “Attracting families and entrepreneurs requires policy leaders to enact policies that will inspire people to live there and encourage job creators to invest there.”