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Brookings ranks Denver No. 1

This was the cover photo of a national report by Brookings that ranked Denver No. 1 over a decade in a prosperity report.

Denver stands alone in a national prosperity index, which includes improvement in racial inclusion, over a decade.

The Brooking Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, analyzed prosperity in the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas from 2007 to 2017, as well as 2016-2017.

Brookings Metro Monitor report, released late last month, tracked four metrics: growth, prosperity, inclusion and inclusion by race.

Brookings: Denver stands alone

“Over the decade from 2007 to 2017, most metro areas (64) made progress on all three prosperity indicators, but only a minority did so on inclusion (29), racial inclusion (26) and growth (10),” noted the authors of the report.

“As a result, only one metro area – Denver – posted across-the-board improvements in all four areas,” the report continues.

Brookings noted Denver “boasted a growing, dynamic economy that boosted wages and standards of living, drew more people into the labor market, reduced poverty, and narrowed disparities by race and ethnicity.”

Inclusion indicators measure the benefits of growth and prosperity in a metropolitan economy. Specifically, inclusion measures how employment and income are distributed among people. The same inclusion indicators are also used to assess differences in outcomes by race and ethnicity.

The inclusion by race/ethnicity indicators measure the absolute difference between the estimates for each group on each inclusion indicator (median wage, relative income poverty rate and employment rate).

Brookings 10-year period includes recession, recovery

The decade Brookings tracked included the start of the Great Recession to well into the rebound.

Some reports ranked Denver as the first area to recover from the nationwide downturn. The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area was ranked 6 out of 100 for growth during the decade by Brookings.

From 2007-2017, Denver booked an 18 percent increase in jobs. And Denver’s Gross Metropolitan Product grew by 26.7 percent. The percentage change in jobs at young firms rose by 11.3 percent during that 10-year period, according to Brookings.

Tech hubs like Denver prospered

Indeed, the technology boom was a big contributor to the economic health of Denver and other metro areas, according to Brookings.

“The list of fastest-growing metro areas over the 10-year period includes many tech hubs that have also grown quickly in the last year (e.g., Austin, San Jose, and Seattle), as well as Dallas, Denver, Raleigh, N.C., and San Francisco,” according to the Brookings report.

Despite being the solo MSA to show improvements in all of the categories during the decade, Denver didn’t rank No. 1 in any single category.

That was true not only for the decade, but also for the one-year period from 2016 to 2017.

In fact, in all but one category, Denver ranked better for the entire decade than it did in the most recent one-year period in which data was available.

From 2016-2017, Denver ranked 10th for property, while it was 24th for the entire decade, according to Brookings.

Side-by-side comparison


A look at how Denver stacked up from 2016-2017 and 2007-2017. Source: Brookings Institution.

If you scratch the surface of just about any deal, there is a story behind it. The Rebchook Real Estate Corner looks at the what and who that make the Colorado commercial real estate industry spin every Tuesday and Thursday online at CREJ.com. The people behind the deals are passionate about what they do, whether they focus on offices, apartments, industrial, retail, land or lending. They also are passionate about their clients. Given the cyclical nature of commercial real estate, those who prosper in it have plenty of stories to tell. I hope to share them with you. 

This column includes news stories, in-depth looks at deals, profiles, Q&As and pieces on the latest trends. Contact John with story tips at JRCHOOK@gmail.com or 303-945-6865.

Kris Oppermann Stern is publisher and editor of Building Dialogue, a Colorado Real Estate Journal publication, and editor of CREJ's construction, design, and engineering section, including news and bylined articles. Building Dialogue is a quarterly, four-color magazine that caters specifically to the AEC industry, including features on projects and people, as well as covering trends…