Buffalo ranked #5 on Forbes’ countdown of 19 American “Opportunity Cities.” Opportunity Cities are up-and-coming cities where young people can make a mark without getting lost in the shuffle. To find these cities, Forbes’ “scanned first for places with inexpensive home prices, using Sperling’s analysis of median home sales from from the first quarter of 2014, looking at all cities with a population over 150,000. Despite reports to the contrary, home ownership is still a goal for most Americans (even Millennials), and so we focused on places where that goal is more attainable. (Though not used for our ranking, rents in these cities are generally affordable as well.) Next, we looked at recent unemployment rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, also factoring in their direction year-over-year. Finally, using data from the Census’ American Community Survey from 2008 to 2012 (the most recent available), we factored in population growth overall, as well as among the 25-39-year-old cohort, a group we consider likely to move (or for that matter, stay put) for opportunities.
Our resulting list of Opportunity Cities focuses explicitly on core urban areas—cities—rather than the often-used Metropolitan Statistical Areas (cities and their surrounding suburbs). Downtowns are in vogue these days, with many cities making big efforts to revitalize urban cores and blighted neighborhoods. Still, many of the Opportunity Cities have higher rates of violent crime (murder, rape, assault) than average for America’s 300 largest cities. Perhaps for urban revivalists, crime rates aren’t the driving determinant of where to live—just look at Detroit.”
Buffalo ranked #5, and Forbes had this to say about it:
The former industrial hub saw its population plummet with the decline of transportation, steel manufacturing, and grain milling, but is working hard to bring new companies to the area. Local efforts include 43North, a business plan competition with a $1 million prize, and Start-Up NY, an effort to get companies to move or expand into space at the State University of New York at Buffalo by offering businesses no personal or business taxes for owners and employees for ten years. Also, the city’s Dollar Home program offers $1 homes to buyers who will restore and live in the home for at least three years.