Homestate Glory

Texas cities touted as country's top magnets of opportunity

Texas cities touted as country's top magnets of opportunity

Dallas skyline downtown during day
Dallas ranks No. 11 on Daily Beast's list of top aspirational cities. Austin took the top spot, followed by Houston at No. 3 and San Antonio at No. 9. Texas Wide Open for Business/Facebook

The Lone Star State racked up some love from the Daily Beast in a survey of so-called "aspirational cities" — urban hubs the website defines as "magnets" of economic and cultural opportunities that lure new, ambitious citizens.

Austin lands in the No. 1 slot, with New Orleans trailing just behind. Houston took third with San Antonio coming in at 9 and Dallas at 11.

Researchers Wendell Cox and Joel Kotkin — both known for their work with staunchly libertarian think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, respectively — tout the top cities as "places where people can enjoy the cultural amenities and attitudes of 'progressive' blue states but in a distinctly red-state environment of low costs, less regulation and lower taxes."

The 21st-century aspirational city, the report explains, tends to draw people from the nation's longstanding hives of activity in California and the Northeast. The South and the lower Midwest appear to have the strongest pull, as workers leave more expensive regions for greener pastures where they can build a career, buy a home and live in relative comfort.

According to Cox and Kotkin, there have been plenty of burgeoning urban landscapes throughout America's history. It was Boston in the 17th century, Philadelphia in the 18th, New York in the 19th and Chicago in the early 20th.

The last 100 years have seen Detroit come into its own between the World Wars, with Los Angeles booming in the middle of the century. San Jose in the 1980s is an example of one of the nation's more recent cauldrons of aspiration.

Here's how the top 15 stack up for 2013. Texas cities are highlighted in bold:

1. AUSTIN
2. New Orleans
3. HOUSTON
4. Oklahoma City
5. Raleigh
6. Nashville
7. Richmond
8. Washington, D.C.
9. SAN ANTONIO
10. Minneapolis-St.Paul
11. DALLAS
12. Seattle
13. Charlotte
14. Salt Lake City
15. Columbus