The Milken Institute released its annual “Best Performing Cities”. The list was topped by Austin, Texas, a metro in the middle of a climate disaster. The Austin City Council is considering a bond to raise money to fight the city’s climate crisis. “Council documents note significant investments will need to be made to achieve the city’s climate change goals,” according to the KXAN.
Austin reached the top of the Milkin Institute’s list of large cities. It is the first time the city has topped the list since 2013. According to the researchers who created the report, the reasons for its position are job growth, high wages, and its tech economy. Ironically, the report lists climate change as a significant factor in where people choose to live.
The job growth rate is not surprising. The Bank of America Insitute recently released a report titled “On the Move: West Side Story.” Its primary conclusion is that hundreds of thousands are leaving West Coast metros. Most of the movement is in the southern tier of states. Of all metros, the second fastest-growing city in America is Autin, just behind Columbus, Ohio.
Like many other cities in the southwest US, Austin is a climate nightmare, mainly because of drought and heat. Even the local government highlights the problem at Austintexas.gov, the city reports, “Climate change is already impacting Central Texas, affecting everyone in our community and everything in the natural and built environment.” Among the severe problems are rising temperatures and increased heatwaves, extended droughts and extremely high risk of wildfire, winter storms that have become colder, severe rain and flooding, a drop in agricultural production, and deteriorating air quality.
The Milken Institute’s analysis has 13 metrics. Among those, job growth and high-tech employment are critical to a city’s ranking, However, like every city where climate extremes are part of daily life, people will leave despite good job opportunities.