Don’t put flyover country in a corner. It’s leading America’s urban boom.

Ask any college senior where the best jobs are, and you’ll probably hear a list of coastal metropolises: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco.

But economic development data tell a different story. Smaller cities away from the coasts are the true hotbeds of economic activity today, thanks to their relatively low costs of living, abundant job opportunities, and appealing community amenities.

This movement is a stark change from decades past, when central business districts in these cities would shut down as office workers headed home to the suburbs. Now, what used to be places to work and leave have become places to work and live. In “18-hour” cities like Denver, Nashville, Tenn., and Charlotte, N.C., people are staying downtown long after the workday is done. That’s spurring economic growth and the development of thriving residential neighborhoods.


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