Yelp Launches Local Economic Outlook

Data analysis ranks cities, neighborhoods, and business categories for economic opportunity in America

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP), the company that connects people with great local businesses, today announced the launch of the Yelp Local Economic Outlook, a new data initiative to track which areas of America are ripe for economic opportunity. The Outlook comprises a list of 50 cities in the U.S. ranked by where businesses have the best chance of success, along with the top 50 neighborhoods and 10 business categories that have risen the most in rankings for new business opportunity.

The Yelp Local Economic Outlook was developed by Yelp’s data editor and data science team, with rankings based on data modeling at the business level, covering millions of businesses and several years of Yelp data. This program is an ongoing effort to surface insights from Yelp’s deep data stores to help businesses succeed and arm policymakers with the information they need to make effective change that will boost local economies.

“While local businesses are incredibly important to the overall health of our economy, the landscape and factors impacting success are constantly in flux, making it difficult to pinpoint areas of success or concern,” said Carl Bialik, Yelp’s data editor. “Yelp data can give us a look inside which geographic areas and types of businesses offer the best chance of success for local business with more detail, more context, and much faster than government data sources are capable of today.”

Yelp is the most comprehensive source of in-depth local business data and reviews online, with 135 million reviews and data including location and hours for local businesses in more than 30 countries. Yelp had more than 100 million mobile visitors as of Q2 2017, with those users performing millions of searches and actions each day.

A recent academic study released by Harvard professors shows that Yelp data can predict business growth, as measured by the Census Bureau, before official statistics are released, with predictive power increasing with population density, income, and education level.

“In today’s world, news cycles happen in minutes and economic change happens daily, so lags in federal data reporting can make insights out of date before they’re even available. Technology platforms like Yelp can close that gap for businesses and policymakers with more real-time data to inform decisions,” said Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp CEO and Co-Founder. “Our millions of users provide an unprecedented view into local communities across the country and their contributions have built the best source of high-quality local business data available.”

We invite researchers, policymakers, and journalists to dig deeper into Yelp data as a resource for understanding local economies. Download Yelp’s Local Economic Outlook report, including the top city, neighborhood, and business category lists, as well as methodology, analysis, and hypotheses at

Ranking 50 Cities in America for Economic Opportunity


  Current Rank   City   Year-Over-Year Change in Rank
  1   Charlotte, NC   -
  2   Jacksonville, FL   -
  3   Omaha, NE  
  4   Orlando, FL  
  5   Charleston, SC  
  6   Las Vegas, NV  
  7   Tampa, FL   -
  8   Dallas, TX   -
  9   Salt Lake City, UT  
  10   Houston, TX  
  11   Louisville, KY  
  12   Memphis, TN  
  13   Tulsa, OK  
  14   Miami, FL   -
  15   Phoenix, AZ  
  16   Cincinnati, OH   -
  17   Atlanta, GA  
  18   Nashville, TN  
  19   Richmond, VA  
  20   Saint Louis, MO  
  21   Tucson, AZ  
  22   San Diego, CA  
  23   Albuquerque, NM  
  24   Washington, DC   -
  25   Milwaukee, WI  
  26   Denver, CO   -
  27   Columbus, OH  
  28   Austin, TX  
  29   Honolulu, HI  
  30   Cleveland, OH  
  31   Baltimore, MD  
  32   Los Angeles, CA  
  33   Minneapolis, MN   -
  34   Buffalo, NY  
  35   Pittsburgh, PA  
  36   New Orleans, LA  
  37   Sacramento, CA  
  38   Chicago, IL  
  39   Philadelphia, PA  
  40   Portland, OR  
  41   Madison, WI  
  42   Rochester, NY  
  43   San Jose, CA  
  44   New York, NY  
  45   Hartford, CT  
  46   Providence, RI  
  47   San Francisco, CA  
  48   Seattle, WA  
  49   Portland, ME  
  50   Boston, MA   -

Top 50 Neighborhoods in America for Most Improved Economic Opportunity


  Rank Based on    
Change in
  Opportunity   Neighborhood   City
  1   Stonestown   San Francisco, CA
  2   Wauwatosa   Milwaukee, WI
  3   Ballston   Arlington, VA
  4   Midtown   Detroit, MI
  5   French Quarter   Charleston, SC
  6   Admiral   Seattle, WA
  7   Carmel Valley   San Diego, CA
  8   Alum Rock/East Foothills   San Jose, CA
  9   Silver Lake   Los Angeles, CA
  10   North Buffalo   Buffalo, NY
  11   Bucktown   Chicago, IL
  12   Toluca Lake   Los Angeles, CA
  13   Middle Village   New York, NY
  14   Fox Point   Providence, RI
  15   Lincoln Park   Chicago, IL
  16   Elmwood   Berkeley, CA
  17   Century City   Los Angeles, CA
  18   Financial District   Boston, MA
  19   North San Jose   Santa Clara, CA
  20   Uptown   Minneapolis, MN
  21   Downtown   Miami, FL
  22   Russian Hill   San Francisco, CA
  23   Mission Hills   San Diego, CA
  24   Uptown   Oakland, CA
  25   Downtown Berkeley   Berkeley, CA
  26   Andersonville   Chicago, IL
  27   Old Town   San Diego, CA
  28   Near North Side   Chicago, IL
  29   Willow Glen   San Jose, CA
  30   U Street Corridor   Washington, DC
  31   Marina/Cow Hollow   San Francisco, CA
  32   Pico-Robertson   Los Angeles, CA
  33   Banker's Hill   San Diego, CA
  34   Mapleleaf   Seattle, WA
  35   Rego Park   New York, NY
  36   Back Bay   Boston, MA
  37   Bay View   Milwaukee, WI
  38   Hillcrest   San Diego, CA
  39   Pacific Beach   San Diego, CA
  40   Allapattah   Miami, FL
  41   Tobin Hill   San Antonio, TX
  42   Oltorf/East Riverside   Austin, TX
  43   Echo Park   Los Angeles, CA
  44   Highland   Saint Paul, MN
  45   Elmwood Village   Buffalo, NY
  46   Central West End   Saint Louis, MO
  47   West Lawn   Chicago, IL
  48   Tarzana   Los Angeles, CA
  49   Far West/Northwest Hills   Austin, TX
  50   Brentwood   Los Angeles, CA

Ranking 10 Business Categories in America for Most Improved Economic Opportunity

  Rank Based on  
Change in
  Opportunity   Business Category
  1   Restaurants
  2   Nightlife
  3   Beauty & Spas
  4   Event Planning & Services
  5   Health & Medical
  6   Automotive
  7   Food
  8   Shopping
  9   Home Services
  10   Active Life


We created an opportunity score based on several factors for cities and ranked them based on that score. We also ranked neighborhoods and categories based on change in opportunity-based ranking over the year-earlier period. Each business in the U.S. that has been reviewed on Yelp was analyzed using a random-forest model to estimate its probability of remaining open for the next three months, for each month over nearly two years, going back to November 2015. The model took into account the business’s location, category and other factors, mainly based on Yelp-related activity for that business: how many reviews it received, how often people looked at its Yelp page and so on. The resulting score for each business was the building block for our rankings at the city, neighborhood and category levels. The rankings are based on data from the third quarter of 2017: July through September. The rankings by change are based on comparing the third quarter of 2017 data with the third quarter of 2016. While the random-forest model covered all businesses on Yelp, we built our rankings using the top 10 primary categories on Yelp, according to page views. We chose 50 major U.S. cities -- the Yelp 50 -- based on a combination of factors, including the number of businesses in those cities, and will track economic opportunity in those cities over time. For the neighborhoods ranking, any community that isn’t primarily an airport and has a minimum number of businesses was eligible for inclusion.

About Yelp Inc.

Yelp Inc. ( connects people with great local businesses. Yelp was founded in San Francisco in July 2004. Since then, Yelp has taken root in major metros in more than 30 countries. Approximately 28 million unique devices1 accessed Yelp via the Yelp app, approximately 83 million unique visitors visited Yelp via desktop computer2 and approximately 74 million unique visitors visited Yelp via mobile website3 on a monthly average basis during the second quarter of 2017. By the end of the same quarter, Yelpers had written approximately 135 million rich, local reviews, making Yelp the leading local guide for real word-of-mouth on everything from boutiques and mechanics to restaurants and dentists.

1 Calculated as the number of unique devices accessing the app on a monthly average basis over a given three-month period, according to internal Yelp logs.

2 Calculated as the number of “users,” as measured by Google Analytics, accessing Yelp via the desktop website on a monthly average basis over a given three-month period. Adjusted to remove certain robot traffic, as described in Yelp’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K or Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.

3 Calculated as the number of “users,” as measured by Google Analytics, accessing Yelp via the mobile website on a monthly average basis over a given three-month period.


Yelp Inc.
Rachel Walker Youngblade
Yelp Senior PR Manager


Yelp Inc.
Rachel Walker Youngblade
Yelp Senior PR Manager