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Jefferson City, MO
Jefferson City
MSA: Jefferson City, MO
Best places ranking: #20 among small metro areas
Population: 146,363
Jefferson City isn't a thriving hotbed of entrepreneurial innovation. Located in the very center of Missouri -- a two-plus hours' drive from Kansas City and St. Louis -- the state capital has instead fostered a slow-growth community of small companies, many of which were founded to the support state government, the city's largest employer. Decades-old manufacturing firms provide bottling and printing services to the local divisions of Unilever and Scholastic Inc. Consequently, the city has seen relatively few layoffs during the recession.

While Jeff City already boasts a low cost of doing business -- both its cost of living (the median home price is about $115,000) and its artisan manufacturing talent are relatively cheap -- commerce leaders are looking at ways to attract more industry. To lure more engineering and tech entrepreneurs from the University of Missouri's flagship campus (located 30 miles north in Columbia), the riverside city's Incentive Task Force is implementing its round of first startup-friendly programs, which has included a 100% personal and property tax abatement for a firm that plans to create at least 50 jobs and a $15 million capital investment in the city's downtown. -Maggie Overfelt

Launch Toolbox:
Resources for getting started in Jefferson City, MO


Local smallbiz lenders

  • U.S. Bank
  • Superior Financial Group
  • Commerce Bancshares
  • Reliable Community Bancshares
  • Hawthorn Bancshares
See all local lenders

Jefferson City Business Statistics
Employer establishments with 1-49 employees
3,572 3,516
Small business growth rate
0.8% 4.1%
State business tax climate ranking
(out of 50 states)
16 N/A
Percentage of population with bachelor's degree
(ages 25-34)
26.1% 23.5%
Violent crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
323.6 385.1
Property crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
2,643.5 3,395.2
Population growth
2.6% 4.93%
Per-capita income
$31,202 $31,933
Per-capita income growth
19.3% 23.6%
GDP (in millions)
$5,257 $4,952
GDP growth
22% 33%
Average hourly wage
$16.78 $17.50
Housing foreclosure rate
(first half of 2009, 1 per every X housing units)
4,727 850
Median rent
(2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)
$596 $737
Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio
(first quarter of 2009)
1.4% 1.8%
Long-term HPI ratio
(20-year average, 1984-2004)
1.4% 1.7%
HPI deviation from long-term average
-1% 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
"Jefferson City's a great town when it comes to understanding the work ethic of the Midwestern value system. " -Andrew Wren
Best Places Winners
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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

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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