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Abilene, TX
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


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
3,752 3,516
Small business growth rate
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
0.9% 4.93%
Per-capita income
$31,453 $31,933
Per-capita income growth
31.4% 23.6%
GDP (in millions)
$4,927 $4,952
GDP growth
42% 33%
Average hourly wage
$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
What do you think of Abilene?
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