In Myrtle Beach, SC, the beaches that make up the “Grand Strand” stretch for 60 miles. In 2014, more than 17 million visitors flocked to the region to soak up the sun and surf.

These days, tourists aren’t the only ones flocking to the Myrtle Beach metro area. From 2010 to 2014, the area’s population soared nearly 11 percent — making it one of the country’s fastest-growing metro areas during that span. As you’d suspect, the region’s economy is growing along with its headcount.

“New business owners looking to get their company off the ground or established firms that are planning to expand can find everything they need for success here in the Myrtle Beach area.”

Brad Dean, president and CEO, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce

Because Myrtle Beach is making population and economic waves, it leads LawnStarter’s new “Growing Like a Weed” ranking of U.S. metro areas. The phrase “growing like a weed” refers to the rapid growth of a child, a company or, in this case, a metro area.

To come up with the list, we first looked at metro areas with 300,000 to 1 million residents in 2010 whose populations had climbed at least 6 percent from 2010 to 2014. We then examined three other factors: economic growth, job growth and patent growth. Once we evenly weighted those four sets of data, the “Growing Like a Weed” ranking was born.

Myrtle Beach SC

Flickr/James Willamor

‘Emerging Hub’

While the Myrtle Beach region is known primarily as a tourist destination — pumping $6.3 billion into the local economy and responsible for an estimated 73,500 jobs — it’s also gaining notice as a business hub. Earlier this year, personal finance website NerdWallet recognized Myrtle Beach as one of the top three best places to start a business in South Carolina.

Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, and Fred Richardson, chairman of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp., cite low taxes, affordable health care, good schools, a great quality of life and a skilled workforce as some of the region’s economic draws.

Richardson’s group bills the Myrtle Beach area as an “emerging hub for global business.” Companies around the world have begun to view the region as “a competitive location for business,” he says.

“New business owners looking to get their company off the ground or established firms that are planning to expand can find everything they need for success here in the Myrtle Beach area,” Dean says.

Here’s how Myrtle Beach and its “Growing Like a Weed” rivals stack up in our ranking.

1. Myrtle Beach, SC

Myrtle Beach SC

Flickr/Roozbeh Rokni

Population growth 2010-14: 10.90%
Economic growth 2014-21 (projected annualized rate): 5.70%
Job growth 2014-15 (projected): 3.30%
Growth in patents for inventions 2000-13 (annualized rate): 32.02%
Weighted percentage: 12.98%

2. Provo, UT

Provo UT

Flickr/Tai Gray

Population growth 2010-14: 8.50%
Economic growth 2014-21 (projected annualized rate): 6.70%
Job growth 2014-15 (projected): 3.40%
Growth in patents for inventions 2000-13 (annualized rate): 26.89%
Weighted percentage: 11.37%

3. Naples, FL

Naples FL

Flickr/Wilhelm Rosenkranz

Population growth 2010-14: 8.50%
Economic growth 2014-21 (projected annualized rate): 6.40%
Job growth 2014-15 (projected): 4.00%
Growth in patents for inventions 2000-13 (annualized rate): 24.13%
Weighted percentage: 10.76%

4. Fort Myers, FL

Fort Myers FL

Flickr/The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel

Population growth 2010-14: 9.80%
Economic growth 2014-21 (projected annualized rate): 5.90%
Job growth 2014-15 (projected): 3.80%
Growth in patents for inventions 2000-13 (annualized rate): 22.95%
Weighted percentage: 10.61%

5. Des Moines, IA

Des Moines IA

Flickr/Jason Mrachina

Population growth 2010-14: 7.40%
Economic growth 2014-21 (projected annualized rate): 4.60%
Job growth 2014-15 (projected): 1.90%
Growth in patents for inventions 2000-13 (annualized rate): 26.31%
Weighted percentage: 10.05%

6. Durham-Chapel Hill, NC

Durham NC

Flickr/James Willamor

Population growth 2010-14: 7.10%
Economic growth 2014-21 (projected annualized rate): 5.60%
Job growth 2014-15 (projected): 2.60%
Growth in patents for inventions 2000-13 (annualized rate): 24.51%
Weighted percentage: 9.95%

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7. Sarasota-Bradenton, FL

Sarasota FL

Flickr/Robert S. Donovan

Population growth 2010-14: 6.60%
Economic growth 2014-21 (projected annualized rate): 5.20%
Job growth 2014-15 (projected): 3.30%
Growth in patents for inventions 2000-13 (annualized rate): 23.13%
Weighted percentage: 9.56%

8. Savannah, GA

Savannah GA

Flickr/Glenna Barlow

Population growth 2010-14: 7.20%
Economic growth 2014-21 (projected annualized rate): 4.10%
Job growth 2014-15 (projected): 2.50%
Growth in patents for inventions 2000-13 (annualized rate): 24.35%
Weighted percentage: 9.54%

9. Charleston, SC

Charleston SC

Flickr/Ron Cogswell

Population growth 2010-14: 9.50%
Economic growth 2014-21 (projected annualized rate): 5.20%
Job growth 2014-15 (projected): 2.60%
Growth in patents for inventions 2000-13 (annualized rate): 20.19%
Weighted percentage: 9.37%

10. Boise, ID

Boise ID

Flickr/isvend09

Population growth 2010-14: 7.80%
Economic growth 2014-21 (projected annualized rate): 5.20%
Job growth 2014-15 (projected): 2.20%
Growth in patents for inventions 2000-13 (annualized rate): 21.18%
Weighted percentage: 9.10%

11. Fayetteville, AR

fayetteville-arkansas

Flickr/Carol Von Canon

Population growth 2010-14: 8.30%
Economic growth 2014-21 (projected annualized rate): 5.80%
Job growth 2014-15 (projected): 1.40%
Growth in patents for inventions 2000-13 (annualized rate): 20.41%
Weighted percentage: 8.98%

12. Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs CO

Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

Population growth 2010-14: 6.40%
Economic growth 2014-21 (projected annualized rate): 5.10%
Job growth 2014-15 (projected): 2.50%
Growth in patents for inventions 2000-13 (annualized rate): 21.14%
Weighted percentage: 8.79%

13. McAllen, TX

McAllen TX

City of McAllen

Population growth 2010-14: 7.30%
Economic growth 2014-21 (projected annualized rate): 5.60%
Job growth 2014-15 (projected): 2.80%
Growth in patents for inventions 2000-13 (annualized rate): 13.97%
Weighted percentage: 7.42%

Sources

http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk
http://usmayors.org/metroeconomies/0615/report.pdf
http://www.usmayors.org/83rdWinterMeeting/media/012115-release-MetroEconomies.pdf
http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/cls_cbsa/allcbsa_gd.htm

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