May 14, 2020

The 10 cities in the best (and worst) positions to recover from the coronavirus

Daily Briefing

    Boise, Idaho and Denver ranked among the cities that are likely to see the strongest economic rebounds from the new coronavirus epidemic, while hard-hit cities like New York City and Los Angeles ranked among those most likely to struggle, according to a report published by Moody's Analytics last month.

    Your top resources for Covid-19 response and resilience

    Methodology

    For the report, Moody's compared population density data from 2018 and 2019 against workforce quality and educational attainment measures to determine which of the top 100 metro areas are better positioned to recover economically from the U.S. coronavirus epidemic.

    Moody's found that cities positioned to make the most dynamic recoveries are those with an educated workforce and low population density, while traditional powerhouses like New York City and Los Angeles could struggle to attract the next generation of workers who witnessed the new coronavirus' spread in densely populated cities.

    Rankings

    The cities best positioned to recover from the new coronavirus epidemic ranked in alphabetical order, according to the report, are:

    1. Boise, Idaho;
    2. Denver;
    3. Durham, North Carolina;
    4. Madison, Wisconsin;
    5. Provo, Utah;
    6. Raleigh, North Carolina;
    7. Salt Lake City;
    8. San Jose, California;
    9. Tucson, Arizona; and
    10. Washington, D.C.

    The cities that are worst positioned to recover from the new coronavirus epidemic ranked in alphabetical order, according to the report, are:

    1. Detroit;
    2. Honolulu, Hawaii;
    3. Los Angeles;
    4. McAllen, Texas;
    5. Miami;
    6. New Haven, Connecticut;
    7. New York City;
    8. Philadelphia;
    9. Stockton, California; and
    10. Tampa, Florida.

    Why the Northeast might be the least likely to recover

    While there are "no winners" in an epidemic, some cities are better poised to weather the storm, Adam Kamins, the author of the report and Moody's director of economic research, said in a commentary.

    Moody's projected a shift in regional patterns after the epidemic that would favor "places that are more spacious, rely more heavily on car travel, and provide ample access to single-family housing," according to Kamins. The researchers also concluded that metro areas like Salt Lake City and Denver that are less densely populated, as well as cities that have economies that can provide high-paying jobs are particularly well positioned to thrive after the crisis.

    But, "the region of the country that … is worse off is going to be the Northeast," which has three cities on the "least likely to recover" list, Kamins said. "It is a highly educated area, but so many large urban centers have an outsize share of residents living in big cities," Kamins said. "That may be difficult to sustain, especially in the short term" (Vaidya, Becker's Hospital Review, 5/12; Bloom, Forbes, 5/12).

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