Last updateMon, 15 Jun 2020 10pm

Back You are here: Home News News Business Peoria ranked as nation's 10th best place to start a business

Peoria ranked as nation's 10th best place to start a business

Log in to save this page.

Peoria has been ranked one of the best places in the country to open a business, perhaps debunking the belief by many that the city is a tough place to do business.

NerdWallet, a consumer advocacy website, recently conducted a study to identify the best places in the nation to open a business and Peoria ranked No. 10 – in the nation.

City officials were understandably excited by the ranking.

“We have such tremendous assets in our community.” said Mayor Jim Ardis.  “We have great businesses, an amazing workforce, talented executive leadership and a growing group of entrepreneurs.   It is great to have national studies validate what many of us already know, but sometimes take for granted.”

To learn where entrepreneurs in the United States can find the most success, NerdWallet analyzed 183 metropolitan areas with 15,000 or more businesses and populations over 250,000. The analysis measured each area’s business climate and economic health by considering six metrics:

  • Average revenue of businesses
  • Percent of businesses with paid employees
  • Number of businesses per 100 people
  • Median annual income
  • Median annual housing cost
  • Unemployment rate

Out of the communities studied, Peoria was ranked the 10th best place in America to start a business. NerdWallet cited factors like Peoria’s high average business revenue and healthy median income. 

Peoria was the highest ranked community in Illinois, listed ahead of the Quad Cities (No. 26), Chicago (No. 71) and Rockford (No. 135).  Peoria also stacked up well against its peer and aspirational cities as identified in the Greater Peoria Scorecard:

Peer Cities Aspirational Cities
City Rank City Rank
Fort Wayne IN 9 Des Moines IA 11
Quad Cities IL 26 Omaha NE 16
Springfield MO 72 Lexington KY 37
Chattanooga TN 119 Madison WI 40
Dayton OH 121    
Rockford IL 135    
Grand Rapids MI 150    

About Peoria, NerdWallet said, “This college town has a low cost of living, and it’s equidistant from Chicago and St. Louis. Bradley University and Caterpillar, the global construction equipment manufacturer, are located here, providing employment opportunities and drawing customers to local businesses, including The Chef and the Baker, a family-owned restaurant that sells box lunches and sweets. Peoria’s RiverFront District is the city’s main attraction, with festivals, live music, art, restaurants and shopping. Businesses can join the Peoria Chamber of Commerce to get listed in its directory, attend networking events and find advertising opportunities.”

The website said:

  • The average revenue of businesses in Peoria here is nearly $1.7 million
  • That 27.2 percent of the businesses have paid employees
  • There are 7.1 businesses per 100 people in Peoria
  • The annual median income is $44,943
  • The annual median housing cost is $9,624
  • The average unemployment rate is 5.3 percent

NerdWallet gives each city a score, with business environment counting toward 60 percent of the total score and “economic landscape” accounting for 40 percent of the total score. Peoria’s overall score was 52.019.

The full study can be found online at  For more information about NerdWallet, visit  More information about business opportunities and assistance in Peoria can be found at

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).