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Most Dynamic Metropolitans 2020

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Heartland by the Numbers

Click the dots to see what we’ve said about America’s small towns (micros) and cities (metros)

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Heartland Summit

The mission of the Heartland Summit is to showcase the exciting innovation happening between the coasts, spark frank conversations about the challenges the region is facing, and build networks to sustain economic growth and power problem solving across the country.

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Heartland entrepreneurs feel venture capital slight

Julie Trivitt, Katie Milligan, and Yee-Lin Lai
Heartland and women entrepreneurs continue to be overlooked by venture capital firms.

10 Minute Read

Heartland Forward Unemployment Insurance Monitor

Dave Shideler and Jonas Crews
The monitor tracks weekly unemployment insurance data to understand how economies across different states are responding to the COVID-19 induced recession.

9 Minute Read


Heartland Forward's new research finds the U.S. poised for an industrial comeback led by the Heartland and fueled by reshoring, the return of manufacturing centers to the U.S. from abroad.

Read Full Report Here

New study shows how city economies can bounce back post-pandemic

Cities are really going to have to double down on finding reasons to attract people to their core," says Mark Warner about how cities can draw young talent. Read the Basil John news article on our Metros report, where he hears from Ross DeVol and Sen. Warner

Watch 1 Minute Video

Top 30 most dynamic cities; Arkansas ranks 3rd among medium metros

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — A Bentonville-based company looked at which metropolitan areas fared the best economically during the pandemic.
Heartland Forward released its “Most Dynamic Metropolitans Report” ranking America’s top 30 cities.

2 Minute Read

Greeley repeats as eighth most dynamic metropolitan in the U.S., according to study

For the second consecutive year, Greeley ranks eighth out of 375 metropolitans in the United States, according to a study by Heartland Forward. This is the second year Heartland Forward has released these rankings and the second time Greeley has been placed eighth.

2 Minute Read

HILL TAX BRIEFING: House to Halt Votes Until Relief Deal Reached

Sony Kassam
Government-backed, forgivable loans facilitated by the Paycheck Protection Program were “proportionally distributed” across affluent, distressed, and middle-income communities, according to ananalysis from the Economic Innovation Group. A full 31% of Paycheck Protection Program loans went to prosperous areas, compared to the 11.6% that went to the poorest ones, and similar percentages of the total dollar amounts flowed to those categories, the think tank found, using recently-released data on loan recipients. Those proportions don’t differ much from the respective percentages of business establishments located in wealthy and distressed areas, according to the analysis. Just 12.7% of establishments are in distressed areas, for instance, and 28.8% are located in prosperous ones.
The group’s report comes after much criticism of the program for leaving out minority business owners. An Augustreportfrom the group Heartland Forward found that across the Midwest, Black-owned businesses received fewer loans than their share of those states’ employer firms.

Will Coronavirus Be the Death of Cities? Not So Fast

Senior Fellow Richard Florida

Working with my colleagues at Heartland Forward, a think tank focused on the transformation of America’s heartland region, we developed such a strategy for a more inclusive, equitable and resilient recovery for the Bentonville-Fayetteville Corridor of Northwest Arkansas.

5 Minute Read

Anxiety is a way of life during Covid-19

Julie Trivitt
This year will live vividly in our collective memories for decades to come

4 Minute Read

Mass Exodus From The Coasts To The New Heartland Is Well Underway

A report from Heartland Forward compiled research and anecdotal evidence from months prior to COVID-19. Released in March 2020, the report puts a spotlight on a trend of millennials finding renewed hope and a viable pathway to achieving their dreams in the New Heartland.

4 Minute Read

Ross speaks to NPR about the Heartland Economy

Ross DeVol, President and CEO of Heartland Forward, a new ‘think and do’ think tank devoted to improving economic performance in the middle of the country, talks about how former factory towns and rural areas can revitalize their economies.

28 Minute Podcast

What Happens After the Election

From the Heartland Forward project, a report on an economic recovery strategy for Northwest Arkansas. Why this part of the country?

10 Minute Read

The Wall Street Journal Why some tech workers leaving Silicon Valley are changing jobs

By Katherine Bindley
If a startup can go to a venture-capital firm and say it recruited multiple engineers from top-tier Silicon Valley companies, it is more likely to get funding, said economist Ross DeVol, who runs Heartland Forward, a nonprofit focused on economic renewal.

4 Minute Read

As tech talent relocates out of the Bay Area, they are also rethinking what kinds of opportunities to consider

Ross Devol - "Even though the numbers may not be substantial -- and I think they will be -- but just a small percentage of this entrepreneurial talent can make a huge difference,"

4 Minute Read

What Happens After the Election

James Fallows
From the Heartland Forward project, a report on an economic recovery strategy for Northwest Arkansas.

10 Minute Read

High jobless rates in Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania point to problem for Trump

“You can’t separate the economy’s performance from the performance of keeping COVID-19 infection rates and death rates down. Clearly, they’re related,” said Ross DeVol, president and CEO of Heartland Forward.

4 Minute Read

Three Small Cities That Are Thriving Despite the Pandemic

“The truth is that to some extent they got lucky because of their underlying industry structure,” says Ross DeVol, president of Heartland Forward, a think tank in Bentonville, Ark., focused on improving the economy in the center of the country.

4 Minute Read

The PPP Failed Minority-Led Businesses. 3 Ideas for What Could Work Instead

Brit Morse
The results are even less positive in the South and Midwest. Black- and Latinx-owned businesses represent about one-fifth of all companies in Alabama, but received just 7 percent of PPP loans, according to a new report from Heartland Forward, a Bentonville, Arkansas-based nonprofit focused on improving economic performance in the Midwest.

2 Minute Read

Exclusive: How the high-tech economy is expanding

"Knowledge-intensive young firms have a higher probability of achieving middle-market status where they can generate rapid job gains for their communities," per Heartland Forward.

2 Minute Read