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Press Release

Texas, South Dakota Earn Site Selection Magazine's Governor's Cup Awards

Top Metro and Micropolitan Areas for Corporate Facility Investment, Top Mississippi River Regions Also Named

CORRECTION AND UPDATE: This release corrects an earlier version that included inaccurate charts in Site Selection’s Top Micropolitans listings because of a database inquiry error. The new listings and updated entries appear in ORANGE. The updated charts have been uploaded to the Digital Edition of the March issue and to the web version of the Top Micropolitans article. Article copy has been reviewed and updated where necessary. Please use these charts for any coverage and direct any questions to Editor in Chief Adam Bruns above. We regret the error. — Ed.

Atlanta, March 1, 2024: Texas and South Dakota have won the 2023 Site Selection Governor's Cups. This is the 10th year Site Selection recognizes the state with the most qualifying new and expanded facilities per capita, which South Dakota claims for the first time for its capital investment activity in 2023. Texas wins for the 12th straight time for having the most qualified projects of any state.

“Texas has a population 33 times the size of South Dakota's and tallied more than 31 times as many projects,” says Adam Bruns, editor in chief of Site Selection. “But however the totals line up, leaders in all of our top-ranked states and metros know how important each new private-sector investment is to the community where it lands.”

The 70-year-old Atlanta-based magazine has awarded the Governor’s Cup annually since 1988, based on new and expanded corporate facilities as tracked by the proprietary Conway Projects Database. Site Selection, published by Conway Data, is the senior publication in the corporate real estate and economic development fields. The magazine’s yearly analyses are regarded by corporate real estate analysts as “the industry scoreboard,” and its controlled-circulation base consists of more than 41,000 subscribers, most of whom are involved in corporate facility location decisions at the CEO/President/COO level.

The Lone Star State’s total of 1,254 qualifying projects was up by 226 projects (22%) over the state’s 2022 total and outdistanced No. 2 Illinois by 702 projects, though the Land of Lincoln saw its own increase of 65 projects to reach 552. No. 3 Ohio sits just behind Illinois with 462 projects (down by a handful), followed by No. 4 California with 375 projects (nearly equivalent to last year’s 374) and No. 5 Georgia repeating as No. 5 with 318 projects, up from 312 (see charts). The biggest upward mover in the Top 10 was No. 8 Florida, which moved up from just outside the Top 10 last year and reported 250 projects — 45 more than in 2022.

In the per capita (per 1 million population) contest, South Dakota earned its spot with 40 projects across a population 33 times smaller than that of Texas, which finished fourth in the per-capita rankings behind No. 2 Illinois and No. 3 Kentucky (192 projects). The biggest upward movers in the per-capita Top 10 were Texas (up from No. 7), South Dakota’s neighboring state of Nebraska (up to No. 7 from No. 10 with 58 projects) and Georgia (up from No. 11 to No. 8).

“The Governor’s Cups recognize not only the winning governors, but their entire economic development teams, and by extension, the many professionals throughout their states who work every day to attract new investment and retain and grow existing businesses,” says Mark Arend, editor emeritus of Site Selection, who wrote the issue’s cover story containing his conversations with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. “Governors Abbott and Noem and their teams deliver the kind of business climate and fiscal predictability that capital investors from around the world rely on for long-term success.”

Site Selection’s Conway Projects Database focuses on new corporate facility projects with significant impact, including headquarters, manufacturing plants, R&D operations and logistics sites, among others. It does not track retail and government projects, nor schools, hospitals or infrastructure investments. New facilities and expansions included in the analyses must meet at least one of three criteria: (a) a capital investment of at least US$1 million, (b) at least 20 new jobs or (c) at least 20,000 sq. ft. (1,858 sq. m.) of new floor area.

Top Metros and Micros

In this year’s Top Metros rankings, Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin, was No. 1 for the 11th straight year among metro areas with populations over 1 million with 485 projects, while the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington region (452 projects) and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land region (413) finished 1-2 in the Tier 1 Top Metros Per Capita rankings. Houston finished second after not making the Top 10 Per Capita last year, while new entrants in the overall Top 10 included No. 7 Greater Phoenix and No. 9 Greater Indianapolis.

With 50 projects, the Lehigh Valley region of Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton ranks No. 1 among areas with populations between 200,000 and 1 million, just ahead of Dayton-Kettering, Ohio (47), while the Tier 2 Per Capita rankings are topped by Sioux Falls, South Dakota (23 projects), and Reno, Nevada (35). Among Tier-3 areas with populations between 50,000 and 200,000, Bowling Green, Kentucky (23 projects), finished first in front of Sioux City, Iowa-Nebraska-South Dakota (19 projects), with the two regions reversing that finish in the per-capita tally. Both the Tier 2 and Tier 3 rankings were replete with regions moving up from outside last year’s Top 10s.

In the magazine's ranking of Top Micropolitans — cities of 10,000 to 50,000 people which cover at least one county — Findlay,Ohio , once again was tops among the nation's 543 micropolitan areas, tallying 25 projects last year. Second place went to Cullman, Alabama (No. 3 last year), with Angola, Indiana, at No. 3, and then three communities finishing in a tie for fourth: Sidney, Ohio; Frankfort, Kentucky and Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Ohio and Georgia tied as the states with the most Top 100 Micropolitans, with 15 each. Ohio had five among the Top 10 and ties. Together, Ohio’s 15 micros tallied enough projects (97) to account for more than one-fifth of the state’s total. Indiana’s 13 Top Micros took third place.

Mississippi River Corridor

In this same issue, St. Louis, Missouri-Illinois, and Blytheville, Arkansas, are recognized for the second year in a row as the overall and per-capita No. 1 metro areas along the entire length of the Mississippi River Corridor, based on private-sector facility projects tracked over an 18-month period tracing to July 2022. Greater St. Louis tallied 108 projects (up by one project from the prior 18-month period), edging out the 98 projects in Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin. In the per capita category, Blytheville, located north of Memphis, tops the charts with eight projects, decimal points ahead of the 14 projects in its fellow Arkansas metro area of Helena-West Helena, located almost the same distance from Memphis to the south.

Charts of the March 2024 issue’s primary rankings can be found below. Full charts and data can be found in the rankings stories posted at the magazine's award-winning website,

Site Selection magazine, published by Conway Data Inc., delivers expansion planning information to a qualified circulation of 41,000 executives of fast-growing firms. Now celebrating its 70th anniversary year, Site Selection is also available via Site Selection Online. Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Conway Data, publisher of Site Selection magazine and industry newsletters, in 2017 was recognized as Georgia International Small Business of the Year by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Conway Data has been a trusted advisor to corporations, government economic development and investment promotion agencies around the world since 1954. Conway Data also manages the Industrial Asset Management Council.

(Note: All circulation information is publisher’s own data unless otherwise specified).