Photo via RootStartup
Photo via RootStartup

Atlanta is apparently the place to be for gamers, nerds and now, startup hopefuls.

Personal finance site Nerd Wallet just released a new study, this time analyzing the best cities to start a business. Atlanta topped the list, while Seattle came in 7th.

Nerd Wallet looked at the 42 largest U.S. cities and used a methodology based on several factors like ease of funding, business-friendliness, local economy, ease of hiring and affordability.

Here’s what they based their scores on:

  1. C&I Loans from community banks (with assets less than $1 billion) with original amounts under $250,000 via the FDIC, as of December 31, 2012
  2. Number of businesses per 100 residents from the U.S. Census
  3. Business friendliness ratings from Thumbtack’s Survey of Small Business Owners (half-weighted)
  4. Per capita income from the U.S. Census (half-weighted)
  5. Unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (half-weighted)
  6. Population growth rate from the U.S. Census (half-weighted)
  7. Percentage of residents with a Bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Census (half-weighted)
  8. Cost of living from the C2ER Cost of Living Index

And here’s what they had to say about Seattle:

With a whopping 12.5 businesses per 100 residents, Seattle is clearly supportive of small businesses. There’s plenty of talent in the hiring pool in Seattle as well, and 55.8% of the population has a college degree. Seattle has plenty of business owners to network with at meetups, and entrepreneurs can receive technical assistance, training and loans from Community Capital Development.

Out of the top ten cities, Seattle had the most businesses per 100 residents, the highest per capita income, the highest percentage of people 25 years and older with bachelor’s degrees (55.8%), but also had the highest cost of living.

Another study by Nerd Wallet ranked the top cities for women entrepreneurs, as Seattle came in second for that list.

Previously on GeekWire: What makes the Seattle startup community so cool?

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  • Jon Poland

    Tulsa and Omaha have low cost of living scores in large part because no one particularly wants to live there. Supply and demand (and some regulation/zoning).

    Exactly what qualifications does Nerd Wallet have to make this assessment? Me thinks none. It’s just a PR ploy…that apparently worked, since Geekwire published it.

    • Ignorance Kills


  • Jonah Stein

    this link has an error: the best cities to start a business.

    • Taylor Soper

      Thanks Jonah, just fixed.

  • Squarely

    Re-publish this article in July/August when Austin/Atlanta/OK are in the 100F+ and see who is having a good time at Alki beach.
    Have lived in those states and hated it.

  • kegill

    Folks think traffic in Seattle is bad. Hah! Atlanta is in a class of its own (types she who was born in the grand ole state of Georgia.) Quality of life? No comparison. Political environment? The state is pretty red. Very red compared to Seattle

  • eddiemm

    I always question how these rankings are derived.. but this one looks pretty good. Some of the negative comments on here are actually, to me, verification of why Atlanta has a high ranking. Too red? That’s a problem for a startup? Less regulations, lower taxes.. how on earth is that a negative?

    Silly criticism.. Where you live is a personal choice.. and those preferences can be more important than business success.. I get that.. so have at it.. but you can pay a price for staying in a high tax, high regulatory environment if you’re trying to get a business started..

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