Credit Scores of the Fastest-Growing Mid-Sized Cities in the U.S.

Quick Answer

Since 2016, residents of the most rapidly growing mid-sized cities in the U.S. have grown their credit score more quickly than the national average.

Aerial shot of Daytona Beach, Florida

Despite popular narratives to the contrary, there are still many rapidly growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. Increasing headwinds of pandemic slowdowns, inflation and housing shortages have broadly stemmed expansion, but some cities have still managed to grow their populations at healthy rates, in turn attracting employers and even more economic activity.

In this analysis, we look at mid-sized cities that grew by 5% or more since 2016 while adding 50,000 to 100,000 new residents over that time, according to U.S. Census data. We then compare some of the credit characteristics of these "Boom Towns" to other U.S. cities. For more information on city population and credit trends, view our accompanying analysis of large U.S. cities.

20 Mid-Sized Cities Added 50,000 or More Residents Since 2016

A number of mid-sized (and formerly small) cities have grown by leaps in just a few years, according to Census data. In nearly half the cities included in this analysis, roughly 1 in 10 residents are newbies to the area.

Below are the 20 mid-sized U.S. cities, as measured by metropolitan statistical area, that added 50,000 to 100,000 residents since 2016. Most are still between 500,000 and 1 million in population in 2022. The sudden surge of new residents is likely to both enrich and strain fast-growing municipalities looking to adapt to the new revenue as well as increased public services.

Boom Towns: The Fastest-Growing Mid-Sized U.S. Cities

Boom Towns: The Fastest-Growing Mid-Sized U.S. Cities
City 2022
Percent Growth,
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC 536,000 19.9%
Greeley, CO 350,000 18.4%
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR 576,000 14.4%
Huntsville, AL 514,000 14.4%
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 822,000 13.8%
Killeen-Temple, TX 496,000 13.7%
Port St. Lucie, FL 521,000 12.2%
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL 706,000 11.0%
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA 598,000 10.5%
Ogden-Clearfield, UT 714,000 9.4%
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 631,000 9.3%
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA 729,000 8.6%
Greenville-Anderson, SC 959,000 8.4%
Stockton, CA 793,000 8.2%
Knoxville, TN 908,000 7.5%
Colorado Springs, CO 765,000 7.5%
Salt Lake City, UT 1,266,000 6.9%
Richmond, VA 1,339,000 6.4%
Oklahoma City, OK 1,459,000 6.3%
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA 977,000 5.8%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Among the findings:

  • Many new residents of Boom Towns aren't from that far away. Census data suggest that many new residents of these cities are from nearby smaller metros within the same state. Contrast this with many fast-growing large cities, like Boise, Idaho, and Atlanta, which are seeing an influx of new residents from Los Angeles and New York City metros, respectively.
  • Nearly all the fastest-growing Boom Towns are in the Southern and Western regions. Only two cities—Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska—are outside the Southern or Western region of the U.S. Otherwise, they are most prevalent in Florida, which boasts four of the fastest-growing mid-sized metros: Cape Coral, Deltona, Palm Bay and Port St. Lucie.

Boom Towns, Booming Credit Scores

Since 2016, Boom Towns have increased their average FICO® Scores by an average of 21 points. That's greater than the nationwide average over that same period, where scores increased by an average of 15 points, from 699 in 2016 to 714 in 2022.

Average FICO® Score Change Since 2016 by City
City Average FICO® Score, 2016 Average FICO® Score, 2022 Change (Points)
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 695 720 +25
Colorado Springs, CO 701 722 +21
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL 687 710 +23
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA 715 730 +15
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR 693 709 +16
Greeley, CO 703 725 +22
Greenville-Anderson, SC 672 706 +34
Huntsville, AL 697 714 +17
Killeen-Temple, TX 663 681 +18
Knoxville, TN 696 715 +19
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC 681 712 +31
Ogden-Clearfield, UT 711 733 +22
Oklahoma City 684 700 +16
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA 713 729 +16
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 699 718 +19
Port St. Lucie, FL 694 714 +20
Richmond, VA 694 714 +20
Salt Lake City 702 726 +24
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA 707 728 +21
Stockton, CA 678 704 +26
All U.S. Consumers 699 714 +15

Source: Experian

All 20 Boom Towns improved their FICO® Scores by at least 15 points, which was at least as much as the nation as a whole since 2016. The two South Carolina cities, Myrtle Beach and Greenville, saw average FICO® Scores improve by more than 30 points.

Boom Towns Are Local Magnets

In nearly all cases, most of the fast-growing mid-sized cities are gaining their residents from areas from within the same state. However, many of these mid-sized cities are receiving new residents from larger nearby cities, many of which are also rapidly growing. The difference is that the larger cities with rapid growth receive more new residents from out of state. These large booming cities are both growing rapidly, but also supply smaller boom towns with their new residents.

Most Common Sources of New Residents Since 2016
Source City → Boom City → Boom Town
New York City Charlotte, NC Charleston, SC
Los Angeles Seattle Spokane, WA
Miami Orlando, FL Deltona, FL

Source: Experian, U.S. Census Bureau

As a consequence, many Boom Cities—like Charlotte, North Carolina; Orlando, Florida; and Seattle—are keeping movers happy. Since 2016, these cities have both welcomed more than 100,000 new residents from out of state, as well as supplied fast-growing nearby metros with their new residents.

Boom Towns Show Economic Resilience Before and After the Pandemic

Although Experian looked at population and credit score data from both before and after the economically disruptive pandemic, there's more evidence that these Boom Towns were booming well before 2020.

Nearly all of the 20 Boom Towns identified by Experian were also considered examples of economically "resilient" metros, according to a recent Brookings Institution study. In other words, these are metros that exhibited above-average economic growth both prior to and following the pandemic in 2020. So although some new residents of these Boom Towns may have arrived recently, economic data from these metros indicate above-average growth in local GDP, wages and employment already existed in these Boom Towns well before 2020.

Methodology: The analysis results provided are based on an Experian-created statistically relevant aggregate sampling of our consumer credit database that may include use of the FICO® Score 8 version. Different sampling parameters may generate different findings compared with other similar analysis. Analyzed credit data did not contain personal identification information. Metro areas group counties and cities into specific geographic areas for population censuses and compilations of related statistical data.

FICO® is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.