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Columbus Receives Low Ranking in Newest Prosperity Index

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Columbus Receives Low Ranking in Newest Prosperity IndexPhoto by Walker Evans.
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We love those city rankings lists. Columbus is a Smart City. Columbus is an Opportunity City. But all those smarts and opportunities don’t seem to add up to prosperity, according to the latest internet list relased last month.

RENTcafe is a website operated by Yardi, an asset software developer. It’s just published a prosperity ranking of 303 U.S. cities based on data trends developed over a 16-year period. In the number one spot is Odessa, Texas. Other places in the top 10 include Charleston and Miami. Expand the list to the top 20 and you’ll get Pasadena, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York…

Wait. Where’s Columbus?

Not in the top quartile. Not in the top half. Out of 303 cities, the city comes in at the top of the bottom quartile: number 232. That’s below Columbus, Georgia (at number 212).

What happened? Well, the six criteria are population change, income change, home value change, higher education change, poverty change and unemployment change.

In the time period between 2000 and 2016, the local population grew by 18 percent, but according to the inflation-adjusted figures, income fell by 11 percent and home value fell by 5 percent. At the same time, poverty in Columbus increased by 43 percent and unemployment by 41 percent.

Meanwhile, places like DC and Charleston saw decreases in both poverty and unemployment. But hey, it could be worse. Detroit came in at number 291.

While RENTcafe declined to list the bottom ten outright, you can figure it out by plugging in city names or rankings into its data generator. It looks like Rockford, Illinois came in at number 303, with a telling 83 percent increase in unemployment.

As always, in the age of the internet, those who don’t like the results from the prosperity indicators can invent their own criteria and publish their own lists.

You can play around with the results of the study at rentcafe.com.

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