The greater Killeen area cracked the top 10 of best performing cities in the state, but narrowly missed nudging its way into the top 50 nationally, according to a recent study.

The nonpartisan think tank Milken Institute recently released its 2013 Best-Performing Cities ratings, which had the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood metropolitan statistical area coming in ninth in the state and 51st nationally out of the 200 large cities ranked.

The area showed an improvement, both statewide and nationally, in its ranking from last year.

In 2012, the greater Killeen area came in 12th in Texas and 63rd nationally.

City Manager Glenn Morrison said Killeen was on the list numerous times over the past few years “speaks to the economic vitality of our community.”

“A regional approach and collaborative efforts have created a strong economy and positioned Killeen and the surrounding area for continued economic growth,” he said.

The study analyzes and ranks hundreds of metropolitan areas dividing them into small and large cities.

Areas that fall in the “small cities” category have a population of less than 256,000, and the large cities category is reserved for areas with more than 256,000.

The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood metropolitan statistical area has a population of 420,375. John Crutchfield, Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce president, said several aspects of the report are significant.

“First, our three-county (metropolitan statistical area) is among the smallest in the nation and we are still able to demonstrate very competitive economic results and have improved our position from last year,” he said. “Second, this study ranks us third in the nation out of 200 (metropolitan statistical areas) in the category of five-year wage and salary growth. ”

Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos claimed the top spot in the nation followed by Dallas-Plano-Irving at seventh and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown ranking eighth.

Other Texas cities ranking higher nationally than the Greater Killeen area are San Antonio-New Braunfels, 12th; Fort Worth-Arlington, 16th; Corpus Christi, 17th; Laredo, 22nd and El Paso, 35.

“The Lone Star State continues to set a national example for job creation thanks to our model of low taxes, smart regulations and fair courts,” Gov. Rick Perry said in a news release Tuesday. “Combined with a highly skilled workforce prepared to take on new challenges in a diverse array of industries, these principles continue to make Texas the best state in the nation to live, work, raise a family and run a business.”

Other cities that cracked the 200 listed are Brownsville-Harlingen, 54; McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, 59; Lubbock, 69 and Beaumont-Port Author, 116.

Contact Natalie Stewart at or 254-501-7555

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