Minneapolis-St. Paul named "most resilient" city in the U.S.
Minneapolis is the most resilient U.S. city, no thanks to state politicians.
Minneapolis-St. Paul is the most resilient big city in the country, and the third most resilient metro area of any kind.
The metro area is more likely than any other American city to bounce back from a recession, natural disaster or other sudden economic problem, according to the Resilience Capacity Index. Rochester ranked No. 1 overall in the same study.
The Twin Cities rate high on community connectivity, stability and business innovation. But researcher Kathryn Foster says the study only means the metro is well-equipped to handle a crisis, and there are still factors that could hold a city back.
Citing an example that will hit close to home for a state with an 18-day-old shutdown, Foster says all the data means nothing without good government.
Foster's study, published by the University of California, puts Rochester and Minneapolis-St. Paul first and third out of 361 American cities. Midwestern metros dominate the chart: Bismarck, N.D. finished second overall, and two Iowa cities and another from Wisconsin also made the top 10.
Rochester topped the study because of its low poverty rate, a high percentage of people with health insurance and the high number of homeowners who are rooted to the city.
The top 10, and the bottom 10 out of 361 metro areas.
To get the No. 1 spot, Rochester had to overcome taking a knock for its lack of economic diversity. With so much of Rochester residents working for the Mayo Clinic, the city's vulnerable to rise and fall with the hospital's ups and downs.
Minneapolis came in first out of all cities with a population over 1 million, with Washington, D.C. and Boston, Mass. close behind.
Big metros in the South and West did worst: San Antonio, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Miami all came out near the bottom of the entire list.
Foster says the Twin Cities are not only first in voter participation -- which speaks to a community's involvement -- but are also a hotspot for entrepreneurs.
But Foster said her data couldn't capture the political aspect of a region.
"We have no measurement for what you might call governance, or leadership," Foster says. "And we believe it's important -- in fact that might be the most important factor in a crisis."
Foster couldn't say exactly how her data would predict Minnesota's ability to respond to a shutdown-related crisis -- like 22,000 state employees missing multiple paychecks -- but said the metro has all the tools to weather the crisis, and bounce back. If it doesn't, the blame should probably fall at the feet of the politicians, she said.
"Obviously, a shutdown of state government relates not only to fiscal realities, but the ability of people to come together and ...hammer out an agreement," she says. "But there's nothing they lack for to be able to respond to a crisis."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.