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Baton Rouge, LA
Baton Rouge
MSA: Baton Rouge, LA
Best places ranking: #9 among midsize metro areas
Population: 774,327
Louisiana's state capital has become an epicenter for tech firms, which benefit from recently approved tax credits intended to expand the industry. It's also home to a growing engineering and construction field, with firms winning national projects and post-Katrina restoration work.

In the last few years, Louisiana has approved tax incentives of up to 35% off the state's corporate income tax for digital-media companies and up to 40% for firms that do research and development in the state. The digital-media credit helped convince video game giant Electronic Arts to open a testing center in Baton Rouge last year.

Many of the engineering and construction companies coming to Baton Rouge are helping to rebuild New Orleans. But they're also are catering to Baton Rouge's rising population: The metropolitan area grew 11% from 2000 to 2008, according to Census data.

Entrepreneurs say they're benefiting from a wealth of young, educated talent in Baton Rouge. The city is home to Louisiana State University, Southern University and Baton Rouge Community College, and many of Louisiana's other universities and colleges are located within an hour's drive.

Baton Rouge's quality of life - or joie de vivre - is one of the main reasons entrepreneurs say they love being in the city. They enjoy crawfish boils and other traditional Louisiana cooking, as well as an atmosphere where people work hard but enjoy an active social scene after hours. -Sheena Harrison

Launch Toolbox:
Resources for getting started in Baton Rouge, LA

BORROW

Local smallbiz lenders

  • Gulf Coast Bk & Tr Co
  • Superior Financial Group
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Gulf Coast Bancshares
  • Hancock Holding Company
See all local lenders

Baton Rouge Business Statistics
Employer establishments with 1-49 employees
(2007)
16,860 11,214
Small business growth rate
(2004-2007)
9.3% 5.0%
State business tax climate ranking
(out of 50 states)
33 N/A
Percentage of population with bachelor's degree
(ages 25-34)
28.5% 26.9%
Violent crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
728.2 478.8
Property crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
4,395.4 3,562.2
Population growth
(2003-2008)
7.7% 5.73%
Per-capita income
(2007)
$34,236 $35,547
Per-capita income growth
(2002-2007)
31.8% 24.0%
GDP (in millions)
(2006)
$36,848 $18,559
GDP growth
(2001-2006)
69% 32%
Average hourly wage
(2008)
$17.89 $18.69
Housing foreclosure rate
(first half of 2009, 1 per every X housing units)
259 286
Median rent
(2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)
$847 $848
Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio
(first quarter of 2009)
1.6% 1.9%
Long-term HPI ratio
(20-year average, 1984-2004)
1.7% 1.8%
HPI deviation from long-term average
-1.2% 0.0%

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
"I was born and raised in Baton Rouge and came back after 20 years. The food here is unbelievable. " -Jacqueline Beauchamp
Best Places Winners
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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.

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