2018’s best large cities to start a business


With April 29 kicking off National Small Business Week and sweeping business tax reform recently signed into law by President Donald Trump, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2018’s Best Large Cities to Start a Business.

In order to help aspiring entrepreneurs maximize their chances for long-term prosperity, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities across 19 key indicators of startup viability. The data set ranges from five-year business-survival rate to office-space affordability.

Best Large Cities to Start a Business
1 Oklahoma City, OK 11 Salt Lake City, UT
2 Austin, TX 12 Denver, CO
3 Sioux Falls, SD 13 Grand Rapids, MI
4 Missoula, MT 14 Miami, FL
5 Durham, NC 15 Orlando, FL
6 Bismarck, ND 16 Springfield, MO
7 Cheyenne, WY 17 Casper, WY
8 Billings, MT 18 Laredo, TX
9 Charlotte, NC 19 Atlanta, GA
10 Raleigh, NC 20 Fort Worth, TX
Best vs. Worst
  • Lewiston, Maine, has the lowest average annual rent for office space, $10.19 per square foot, which is 7.9 times cheaper than in San Francisco, the city with the highest at $80.22 per square foot.
  • Detroit has the lowest labor costs (median annual income), $26,249, which is 4.3 times lower than in Fremont, Calif., the city with the highest at $111,613.
  • Laredo, Texas, has the lowest cost-of-living index, 77, which is 2.5 times lower than in San Francisco, the city with the highest at 193.
  • Irvine, Calif., has the highest share of college-educated population, 68 percent, which is 6.1 times higher than in San Bernardino, Calif., the city with the lowest at 11.2 percent.
  • Miami, Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale & Pembroke Pines, Fla. have the most startups per 100,000 residents, 234.72, which is 12.6 times more than in Columbus, Ga., the city with the fewest at 18.56.

To view the full report and your city’s rank.