Respected national publications, economists and university researchers recognize Northwest Arkansas as one of the nation’s most successful regions. They are consistent with their praise of Northwest Arkansas, its counties and cities, its economy and businesses, and its quality of life. It's worth noting that many publications and researchers list the city of Fayetteville as the place being ranked, but the statistics used to determine the rankings make clear that the ranking is based on the success of Northwest Arkansas as a whole rather than any one city. Here are some examples of the praise that's been heaped on Northwest Arkansas in the not-so-distant past.
Best Affordable Places to Live
U.S. News & World Report put Northwest Arkansas at No. 1 in its May 2016 ranking of the 20 Best Affordable Places to Live.
Best Cities for Job Growth
New Geography in 2014 put Northwest Arkansas at No. 10 on its list of Best Cities for Job Growth for medium-sized cities. Rankings are based on recent growth trends, mid-term growth and long-term growth, momentum, and current year growth.
Best in the U.S.
Lonely Planet, the world's largest publisher of travel-related books and guides, in February 2016 ranked Northwest Arkansas at No. 7 in its list of "Best in the U.S."
Best Cities for White-Collar Job Growth
Forbes and NewGeography.com ranked Northwest Arkansas at No. 3 among the nation's medium-sized cities for white-collar job growth in July 2016. The region ranked 16th among all U.S. metropolitan statistical areas.
Best Midsize Cities for Jobs
Forbes ranked Northwest Arkansas at No. 2 on its list of Best Midsize Cities for Jobs in May 2016. All the midsize cities had 150,000 to 450,000 nonfarm jobs in their metropolitan area.
The Milken Institute, which published a new report in December 2016, put the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area's economy at No. 30 among 200 large metropolitan areas. The region was especially strong in job and wage growth.
Best Places to Live
U.S. News & World Report put the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers (Northwest Arkansas) Metropolitan Statistical Area at No. 5 on its 2017 list of Best Places to Live. Northwest Arkansas ranked No. 3 in 2016.
Best Places for Minority-Owned Businesses in 2016
Only San Jose in California ranked ahead of Northwest Arkansas when it came to creating a climate for minority-owned businesses. Northwest Arkansas was No. 2 nationally, according to Fast Company and Nerdwallet.
Best Places to Retire
Money Magazine in 2015 lists Northwest Arkansas as one of 25 Best Places to Retire. Northwest Arkansas offers a wealth of year-round outdoor outlets.
Best Suburb to Purchase a Home
According to Realtor Magazine's June 2015 issue, Centerton in Northwest Arkansas was ranked by online publication Niche at No. 3 for best places in the nation to purchase a home with an average home price of $133,400. Niche recently ranked America's suburbs, factoring in home values, property taxes, housing costs, and age of new homebuyers.
Researchers at Chapman University's Center for Demographics and Policy in California determined in a report that Northwest Arkansas ranked No. 1 in the nation in family friendliness. The report, called Building Cities for People and made public in January 2016, measured metropolitan areas in such categories as commute times, housing costs, income and migration.
Fastest Growing Economy through 2020
The Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area (Northwest Arkansas) is growing. Its economy, according to a report delivered to the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2014, grew 3.8 percent in 2013. It is projected to grow at 4.2 percent annually between 2013-20, making it one of the top metropolitan areas in the nation. The region's gross metropolitan product ranked No. 3 for the 2013-20 projection period, behind Austin, Texas at 4.4 percent and Raleigh, N.C. at 4.3 percent. The full report includes an excellent review of the nation's future economic hot spots.
Most Economic Growth in 2016
Northwest Arkansas is No. 7 among 18 regions that will see the most economic growth in 2016, according to research by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in June 2015.
Best Places for Business and Careers
Forbes ranked Northwest Arkansas at No. 24 in its list of Best Places for Business and Careers in 2016. Criteria included labor supply, quality of life, college attainment, crime statistics, local college quality, and cultural and recreational opportunities. In the ranking, Northwest Arkansas was ahead of larger metropolitan areas, including San Jose, Orlando, Nashville and Minneapolis/St.Paul. Ranked No. 11 in job growth, Northwest Arkansas finished ahead of cities such as Denver, Dallas and Atlanta in that category.
Money Magazine in 2014 recognized Bella Vista as the nation's No. 1 option as "Best Places to Retire" if keeping costs low is a top priority.
National Geographic in May 2017 selected Bentonville as one of America's 20 Best Mountain Bike Towns. Mountain bike trails at Slaughter Pen in Bentonville, Lake Atalanta in Rogers and Mount Kessler in Fayetteville were mentioned as part of the recognition on National Geographic's website.
Thrillist in May 2016 put Bentonville in its list of "25 Best Small U.S. Cities to spend the weekend." Thrillist is a website focused on food, drink and travel.
Outside Magazine in March 2016 ranked Bentonville on its list of "28 Best Trips of 2016," noting the region's growing interest in and places for mountain biking.
Yahoo! Travel in June 2015 has identified Bentonville as one of 10 Newest Hipster Neighborhoods. According to Yahoo! Travel, great things are happening in some relatively unknown neighborhoods across the U.S. The opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 21c Museum Hotel, Scott Family Amazeum and the recent Bentonville Film Festival attended by many of Hollywood's royalty, has identified Bentonville as a hub for art and culture.
As the only destination in the United States in its Hottest Travel Destination for 2012, Travel + Leisure recognized Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art as “an audacious gamble that a large-scale arts institution can thrive in the Ozarks.” And, remember that this recognition came before the completion of the Razorback Regional Greenway trail, before the opening of the Walmart AMP outdoor music venue and before the region had the Amazeum children's museum.
In its 12 Places to Visit in 2012, The Los Angeles Times noted that the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has a collection that spans colonial works to contemporary pieces, including Norman Rockwell’s “Rosie the Riveter” and Andy Warhol’s “Dolly Parton.”
The University of Arkansas System, which has the flagship University of Arkansas located in Fayetteville, was ranked at No. 65 in a list of the world's 100 top utility patent producing universities. The list was published in June 2015 by the National Academy of Investors.
Ranked by Southern Living at No. 11 in its list of The South’s Best College Towns, Fayetteville was cited for “a slew of music venues and bars” but also noted that Dickson Street is the “town’s life force on the weekends” and connects the University of Arkansas to “the revitalized downtown, where streets are blocked off on Saturdays for the 60-stall Fayetteville Farmers’ Market.”
Fayetteville was identified by Flipkey as one of Six Amazing Small Cities for a Family Vacation in November 2016. The other five were Chapel Hill, N.C.; Columbia, Mo.; Rockville, Md.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Sioux Falls, S.D.
Men's Journal identified Fayetteville as one of the Fittest Places to Live in America in 2015.
WalletHub ranked Springdale as the No. 26 fastest-growing city among 516 U.S. cities that were evaluated in 2015. It's the nation's 10th fastest-growing small city. The survey relied mostly on city-specific data instead of information from the entire metropolitan statistical area.
The University of Arkansas School of Law in 2014 ranked No. 1 among the nation's "Best Value Law Schools." The school ranked No. 2 in 2013.