The Washington, DC, area ranked No. 5 in the Milken Institute's annual "Best-Performing Cities" index for 2012. That's up from No. 17 in 2011.
The Milken Institute, a think tank located in Santa Monica, CA, bases its rankings on how well metropolitan areas do at creating and sustaining jobs.
The top five cities in the 2012 report are:
- San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA
- Austin/Round Rock/San Marcos, TX
- Raleigh/Cary, NC
- Houston/Sugar Land/Baytown, TX
- Washington, DC/Arlington/Alexandria, VA
Milken compiles the ratings based on nine metrics:
- 5-year job growth
- 1-year job growth
- 5-year wage/salary growth
- 1-year wage/salary growth
- short-term job growth
- 5-year relative high-tech Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth
- 1-year relative high-tech Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth
- high-tech GDP location quotient
- number of high-tech industries with GDP
The first five factors carry double the weight of the last four in Milken's ranking system.
The DC area's ranking has been somewhat of a roller coaster over the past decade, placing No. 19 in 2003, No. 11 in 2004, No. 7 in 2005, then falling out of the Top 20 until ranking No. 6 in 2010, then falling to No. 17 in 2011.
Its high ranking of No. 5 in 2012 was "anchored by steady federal spending" and "strong growth in high-tech output," according to a news statement from the Milken Institute.
View a full interactive map of historical ranking data on the Milken's Institute's website.