The 10 Best Cities for Starting a Business in 2015

According to a Forbes slideshow, the 10 best cities for starting a business in the United States is based on:

  • Average revenue of businesses
  • Percentage of businesses with paid employees
  • Number of businesses per 100 people
  • Unemployment rate

It’s unclear as to what order these cities are supposed to be in or what makes these metrics an indicator of the best place to start a business. I decided to analyze the data further to determine how each city ranked based on each metric.

Here’s how the cities rank when compared by Average Revenue of Businesses:

Average Revenue of Businesses in 2015

In this category, Beaumont – Port Arthur, Texas is #1:

City Average Revenue of Businesses
Beaumont – Port Arthur, Texas $   2,778,973.00
Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk, Connecticut $   2,145,214.00
Fort Wayne, Indiana $   1,965,562.00
Evansville, Indiana-Kentucky $   1,844,834.00
Peoria, Illinois $   1,698,149.00
Green Bay, Wisconsin $   1,594,448.00
Cedar Rapids, Iowa $   1,514,835.00
Boulder, Colorado $       721,489.00
Portland – South Portland – Biddleford, Maine $       716,382.00
Wilmington, North Carolina $       665,548.00

Here’s how the cities rank when compared by Percentage of Businesses with Paid Employees:

Percentage of Businesses with Paid Employees

In this category, Green Bay, Wisconsin is #1:

City Percentage of Businesses with Paid Employees
Green Bay, Wisconsin 31.1%
Evansville, Indiana-Kentucky 27.5%
Portland – South Portland – Biddleford, Maine 27.5%
Peoria, Illinois 27.2%
Fort Wayne, Indiana 26.5%
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 26.1%
Boulder, Colorado 23.8%
Wilmington, North Carolina 23.6%
Beaumont – Port Arthur, Texas 22.9%
Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk, Connecticut 22.4%

Here’s how the cities rank when compared by Number of Businesses per 100 People:

Number of Businesses per 100 People

In this category, Wilmington, North Carolina is #1:

City Number of Businesses per 100 People
Wilmington, North Carolina 15.1
Boulder, Colorado 14.1
Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk, Connecticut 11.8
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 8.3
Evansville, Indiana-Kentucky 8.2
Portland – South Portland – Biddleford, Maine 8.2
Fort Wayne, Indiana 7.7
Green Bay, Wisconsin 7.2
Peoria, Illinois 7.1
Beaumont – Port Arthur, Texas 6.9

Here’s how the cities rank when compared by their Unemployment Rate:

Unemployment Rate

In this category, Cedar Rapids, Iowa is #1.

City Unemployment Rate
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 3.8%
Portland – South Portland – Biddleford, Maine 4.5%
Evansville, Indiana-Kentucky 4.8%
Green Bay, Wisconsin 5.1%
Boulder, Colorado 5.2%
Peoria, Illinois 5.3%
Beaumont – Port Arthur, Texas 5.8%
Fort Wayne, Indiana 6.3%
Wilmington, North Carolina 6.8%
Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk, Connecticut 6.8%

Here is the full list, by city, for the best cities for starting a business in America in 2015:

If you take the ‘best’ of each of the 4 categories, Evansville, Indiana-Kentucky is actually the best city for starting a business in 2015 (the lower the score, the better the rank):

City Score
Evansville, Indiana-Kentucky 14
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 18
Green Bay, Wisconsin 19
Portland – South Portland – Biddleford, Maine 20
Boulder, Colorado 22
Fort Wayne, Indiana 23
Peoria, Illinois 24
Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk, Conneticut 25
Beaumont – Port Arthur, Texas 26
Wilmington, North Carolina 28

1. Boulder, Colorado

  • Average revenue of businesses: $721,489
  • Percentage of businesses with paid employees: 23.8%
  • Number of businesses per 100 people: 14.1
  • Unemployment rate: 5.2%

2. Wilmington, North Carolina

  • Average revenue of businesses: $665,548
  • Percentage of businesses with paid employees: 23.6%
  • Number of businesses per 100 people: 15.1
  • Unemployment rate: 6.8%

3. Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk, Connecticut

  • Average revenue of businesses: $2,145,214
  • Percentage of businesses with paid employees: 22.4%
  • Number of businesses per 100 people: 11.8
  • Unemployment rate: 6.8%

4. Evansville, Indiana-Kentucky

  • Average revenue of businesses: $1,844,834
  • Percentage of businesses with paid employees: 27.5%
  • Number of businesses per 100 people: 8.2
  • Unemployment rate: 4.8%

5. Portland – South Portland – Biddleford, Maine

  • Average revenue of businesses: $716,382
  • Percentage of businesses with paid employees: 27.5%
  • Number of businesses per 100 people: 8.2
  • Unemployment rate: 4.5%

6. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  • Average revenue of businesses: $1,514,835
  • Percentage of businesses with paid employees: 26.1%
  • Number of businesses per 100 people: 8.3
  • Unemployment rate: 3.8%

7. Beaumont – Port Arthur, Texas

  • Average revenue of businesses: $2,778,973
  • Percentage of businesses with paid employees: 22.9%
  • Number of businesses per 100 people: 6.9
  • Unemployment rate: 5.8%

8. Green Bay, Wisconsin

  • Average revenue of businesses: $1,594,448
  • Percentage of businesses with paid employees: 31.1%
  • Number of businesses per 100 people: 7.2
  • Unemployment rate: 5.1%

9. Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • Average revenue of businesses: $1,965,562
  • Percentage of businesses with paid employees: 26.5%
  • Number of businesses per 100 people: 7.7
  • Unemployment rate: 6.3%

10. Peoria, Illinois

  • Average revenue of businesses: $1,698,149
  • Percentage of businesses with paid employees: 27.2%
  • Number of businesses per 100 people: 7.1
  • Unemployment rate: 5.3%