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Reason Foundation: U.S. Metropolitan Area Economic Freedom Index

January 31, 2019

A ranking of 382 metro areas on policies that affect economic growth and incomes.

This report finds there is considerable variation economic freedom among U.S. metropolises, even within the same state, as measured by nine variables research has shown have an effect on the economy. Metro areas with higher economic freedom tend to have higher per capita incomes and faster population growth.

Among America’s 52 largest metro areas, in order of economic freedom, Houston, Jacksonville, Tampa, Richmond and Dallas-Fort Worth rank the highest. In descending order, the metro areas with the least economic freedom are Riverside, Rochester, Buffalo, New York and Cleveland.

Dean Stansel is a Research Associate Professor at Southern Methodist University's O'Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom in the Cox School of Business in Dallas, Texas. @deanstansel