This Southeastern State Is the Best Place to Start a Small Business

According to a new survey by LendingTree, entrepreneurs should head South, East or Midwest ... but maybe avoid California.

Raleigh at night. The city tops LendingTree's list of best places to start a small business.
Three cities in this SE state topped LendingTree's new small business survey.
Higgins Spooner / Unsplash

If you’re going to start a small business, you’ll want to head to North Carolina, according to a new report by the online loans marketplace LendingTree.

The new survey (“Best Places to Start a Small Business”) utilized nine metrics across the 100 largest U.S. metros by population; those metrics included “proportion of self-employed residents,” “tax climate” and “business formation rate.” Three scores were then created in the larger areas of Entrepreneurship, Business Climate and Local Economy, and those were then averaged out to a final number.

Some findings:

  • The NC cities of Raleigh, Charlotte and Durham placed at numbers one, three and four on the list. The capital took the top spot, in part, due to its demographics (54.8% of the population is in their prime working years between ages 25 and 54).
  • Conversely, California offers the worst places to start a small business. Three Golden State cities — Bakersfield, Stockton and Fresno — took the bottom spots on the list. Bakersfield also rated the worst for unemployment rate (10.7%) and proportion of residents with least a bachelor’s degree (17.1%)
  • Each of the Southern states represented in the top 10 — North Carolina, Texas and Tennessee — have a one-year business survival rate of at least 78%.
  • For housing costs as a percentage of income, one of the nine metrics used here, Pittsburgh rated the best (16.7%) while Miami (27.6%) rated the worst.

As for where residents are starting these new businesses? The highest entrepreneurship rate (5.3%) was shared by nine Florida cities, while Providence, RI (1.6%) scored the lowest.


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