CNNMoney.com > Small Business > Best Places to Launch

45 of 50
BACKNEXT
Abilene, TX
Abilene
MSA: Abilene, TX
Best places ranking: #15 among small metro areas
Population: 159,521
Located a few hours west of Fort Worth, Abilene's hardly a big city, but as one community leader says, it's small enough to care about small businesses.

Abilene was the first city in Texas to implement a half-cent sales tax, funneling those earnings toward economic development. It's worked diligently to attract new employers, and local entrepreneurs can take advantage of a range of incentives, from job training and relocation grants to assistance with land purchases.

The city boasts a low cost of living, a low unemployment rate and a high population of students -- a number of colleges call it home. Soon after Texas Tech University added a pharmacy school campus in Abilene, a biotechnology company launched in the city, and others are expected to follow.

Abilene's location east of the world's largest wind farm, the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, makes the city a hot spot for the business of going green. Local companies have sprouted up to manufacture wind turbine blades, service the transport companies and oversee leases. -Tina Peng

Launch Toolbox:
Resources for getting started in Abilene, TX

BORROW

Local smallbiz lenders

  • First Baird Bancshares
  • Happy Bancshares
  • Southwest Bank
  • Superior Financial Group
  • Plains Bancorp
See all local lenders

Abilene Business Statistics
Employer establishments with 1-49 employees
(2007)
3,752 3,516
Small business growth rate
(2004-2007)
1.3% 4.1%
State business tax climate ranking
(out of 50 states)
7 N/A
Percentage of population with bachelor's degree
(ages 25-34)
21.9% 23.5%
Violent crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
474.3 385.1
Property crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
3,586.9 3,395.2
Population growth
(2003-2008)
0.9% 4.93%
Per-capita income
(2007)
$31,453 $31,933
Per-capita income growth
(2002-2007)
31.4% 23.6%
GDP (in millions)
(2006)
$4,927 $4,952
GDP growth
(2001-2006)
42% 33%
Average hourly wage
(2008)
$15.55 $17.50
Housing foreclosure rate
(first half of 2009, 1 per every X housing units)
683 850
Median rent
(2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)
$673 $737
Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio
(first quarter of 2009)
1.0% 1.8%
Long-term HPI ratio
(20-year average, 1984-2004)
1.2% 1.7%
HPI deviation from long-term average
-12.4% 0.1%

All statistics are for the full Metropolitan Statistical Area. For a complete list of data sources, see "How we picked the Best Places."

From the November 2009 issue
"You can find a little bit of everything in this particular small town. I was amazed at how diverse and how talented the restaurants are in this community. " -Brian Green
Best Places Winners
MAPS
What do you think of Abilene?
Video
Find your launch spot
Do you prefer a place that is: Small Medium Large
The factors that matter most to me are:
 Affordable wages  Few foreclosures
 Educated workers  Low housing costs
 Low crime  High local incomes
 A growing economy  Population growth
 Growing small business population

ireportTell us why: Low taxes? Talented workers? An active small business community? Send us your photos and videos, and you could be featured in our upcoming coverage of reader-picked Best Places to Launch. More
This year we partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to find the 50 most business-friendly communities in America.

With help from Robert Fairlie, an economist and leading scholar of entrepreneurship at the University of California, Santa Cruz, we developed a methodology and sifted through such data on factors such as per capita income, hourly wages, workforce quality, crime rates, taxes and foreclosures. More

Comments? E-mail the editors
Data partners

This package was produced in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Foreclosure data provided by RealtyTrac.

Housing price-to-income data provided by Moody's Economy.com.

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.