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Fayetteville, AR
MSA: Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO
Best places ranking: #13 among midsize metro areas
Population: 443,976
Locals love Fayetteville, which lies 1,400 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. There's plenty to do: football fanatics go crazy for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, flooding the city during home games. Outdoor enthusiasts fish in nearby lakes and bike and hike in the Ozarks. But culture isn't lost on this diverse area: The university brings art, theater, and music to the city. And then, of course, there's the Walton family's Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, currently under construction in nearby Bentonville. It's one of the nation's first new art museums in 30 years.

Big businesses, too, like the Fayetteville area: It's home to Tyson Foods and to J.B. Hunt, the nation's largest transportation company. Wal-Mart, headquartered in Bentonville, has grown an ecosystem of business by encouraging its vendors -- at last count, more than 1,300 of them -- to open local offices. That's created a thriving business community that has cushioned the area somewhat from the recession. Unemployment is at 6.2%, more than a point lower than the state's rate.

Newcomers flooded the area over the past several years, pushing house prices up and enticing real estate developers to build. Many developers who jumped in at the peak have gone under. The area is dotted with empty commercial buildings, bringing lease and purchase prices down to more affordable levels. -Elaine Appleton Grant

Launch Toolbox:
Resources for getting started in Fayetteville, AR


Local smallbiz lenders

  • First Financial Banc Corporati
  • Arvest Bank Group
  • Arkansas Capital Corporation
  • Simmons First National Corpora
  • Home Bancshares
See all local lenders

Fayetteville Business Statistics
Employer establishments with 1-49 employees
5,856 11,214
Small business growth rate
6.7% 5.0%
State business tax climate ranking
(out of 50 states)
35 N/A
Percentage of population with bachelor's degree
(ages 25-34)
28.7% 26.9%
Violent crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
324.2 478.8
Property crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
2,962.7 3,562.2
Population growth
17.1% 5.73%
Per-capita income
$31,586 $35,547
Per-capita income growth
28.1% 24.0%
GDP (in millions)
$16,038 $18,559
GDP growth
51% 32%
Average hourly wage
$17.51 $18.69
Housing foreclosure rate
(first half of 2009, 1 per every X housing units)
48 286
Median rent
(2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)
$695 $848
Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio
(first quarter of 2009)
1.7% 1.9%
Long-term HPI ratio
(20-year average, 1984-2004)
1.7% 1.8%
HPI deviation from long-term average
2.1% 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
"It's a very economical place to live and work. National chain hotels cost about $58 a night on our corporate rate. And there's plenty to do. " -Cathy Mastalerz
Best Places Winners
What do you think of Fayetteville?
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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