most prosperous cities The top 20 cities scattered across California and Texas have improved the most.

DALLAS—How do US cities fare in terms of population and prosperity? The top 20 cities that have improved the most since 2000 are mainly scattered across California and Texas, with the latter claiming six spots.

The apartment search website RentCafe research team ranked 303 US cities by looking at six indicators of prosperity between 2000 and 2016. Those indicators included a magnitude of proportional changes that affected population, median income, home values, share of inhabitants holding a higher education degree, poverty rate and unemployment rate.

Odessa takes the crown as the most prosperous city in the country by scoring high on all six indicators between 2000 and 2016, while nearby Midland secures the 10th place on the Top 20, boasting an 82% increase in population holding a higher education degree and a 25% decline in unemployment. The Midland-Odessa area has recorded some of the lowest unemployment rates in Texas for years.

“Taking into consideration Texas’s upswing in crude oil production, it’s no surprise to see Odessa in the spotlight as the city that has witnessed the most striking improvement,” Florentina Sarac of RentCafe tells

Odessa’s population increased by 25% during the period between 2000 and 2016, median income rose by 38%, home values by 91% and residents with a higher education degree by 26%. Also, Odessa’s poverty rate declined by 36% and the unemployment rate dropped by 24%, Sarac says.

Only 11 out of more than 300 cities have registered improvements across all prosperity indicators between 2000 and 2016, including Odessa, Midland, Brownsville and Corpus Christi, according to the report. Texas further claims four additional spots in the top 20 with Pearland, Brownsville, Fort Worth and El Paso.

Fort Worth occupies the 14th place in the top 20 with its population soaring by 52% between 2000 and 2016. Although the change in population is higher than Odessa’s, the median income in Fort Worth went up by only 5% while home values increased by 34% during the two-year period. The population segment holding a higher education degree went up by 24%, while the poverty rate had a boost of 13% and unemployment of 7%. Given its size, Fort Worth also ranks fourth among the top 20 largest cities that have improved the most since 2000, trailing behind New York, Miami and Washington, DC.

Other Texan cities with a high overall prosperity ranking during the time period 2000 to 2016 include Pearland, seventh in the Top 20, with an outstanding 183% growth in population since the turn of the millennium and a 57% increase in the number of residents with a higher education degree. This is followed by Brownsville, which comes ninth in terms of overall improvement. Despite its 16th position in the top, El Paso’s unemployment rate decreased by 17%.

When ranking only the largest US cities by prosperity, Washington DC is in the first spot.