The Milken Institute rates America's metro cities every year for jobs, wages, high-tech growth, housing affordability and household broadband access.
The smaller metropolitan cities that showed the biggest gains in the annual rankings this year were:
1. Cleveland, Tennessee, which rose from 186th in 2020 to 58th in 2021.
2. Appleton, Wisconsin, which rose from 139th in 2020 to 47th in 2021.
3. Jacksonville, North Carolina, which rose from 183rd in 2020 to 91st in 2021.
4. Blacksburg, Virginia, which rose from 128th in 2020 to 43rd in 2021.
5. Hinesville, Georgia, which rose from 124th in 2020 to 46th in 2021.
Source: Milken Institute. The top-rated metro area for major cities was Provo, Utah, and for smaller metro areas was Idaho Falls, Idaho. Nashville ranked No. 8, Huntsville, Alabama was No. 10 and Chattanooga ranked 62nd among the 200 largest metro areas. Among the smallest 201 metro areas, Dalton, Georgia, declined in its rankings from 82nd in 202o to 153rd last year.
- Compiled by Dave Flessner