Atlanta, also known as ATL, A-Town and the Big Peach, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, according to an article published by Forbes. The article ranks the 20 cities in the U.S. with the highest rate of growth, and A-Town was listed as number 12.

This is great news for those who are looking to make money through real estate and investment property in the area because when people move into a city quickly and in large numbers, available properties become scarce and values rise.

When Forbes set out to publish their list, the authors began by researching the 100 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the U.S. with the highest total populations. MSAs are official geographic areas of the country centered on highly populated cities and their suburbs, which have been officially designated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

These 100 MSAs were then analyzed according to six factors using information obtained from Moody’s Analytics and

1. Estimated population growth for 2013
2. Estimated population growth for 2014
3. Annual growth rate of jobs in 2013
4. Economic growth rate for 2013, also known as the rate of metro product growth
5. Unemployment rate
6. Median salary for workers with college degrees

Because of how the MSAs were analyzed, the list reflects more than simple population growth. The growth of the cities in the Forbes list also includes economic growth and stability.

How ATL Ranked Number 12

ATLANTA 12TH FASTEST-GROWING CITYThe ATL MSA includes several prominent suburbs, including Sandy Springs, Roswell, Johns Creek, Marietta and Smyrna, and it is officially known as the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA, MSA.

It has the highest population of any MSA in the state of Georgia, and it is the ninth largest in the nation. According to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the ATL MSA had a population of 5.46 million people in 2012 and a population density of 630 people per square mile. In 2013, the population grew by 1.27 percent over the previous year.

The economy of the ATL MSA is very favorable compared to the country as a whole. The median pay is $62,500 per year, and the unemployment rate in 2013 was 7.07 percent compared to the national rate of 7.35 percent.

The major economic activities in the area are utilities and retail shopping. The city has one of the largest fiber-optic networks in the world, and several oil and natural gas pipelines run through it on the way to Florida, Louisiana and Texas. It also hosts one of the largest shopping malls in the South, and dozens of major retailers are headquartered in the MSA.

Atlanta Growth Fueled by Jobs

The growth of the ATL MSA has been fueled by an increase in the number of available jobs and a diverse economy. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that more than 58,000 jobs were added in 2013, which is an increase over the 2012 total of 55,000 jobs, and more than 180,000 jobs were added since 2010. Many of these jobs were in finance, construction and housing while others were added to the insurance, healthcare and technology industries.

Other Cities on the List

The list from Forbes of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. includes several prominent cities. The complete ranking is as follows:

1. Austin, Texas – growth rate 2.5 percent
2. Raleigh, North Carolina – growth rate 2.15 percent
3. Phoenix, Arizona – growth rate 1.67 percent
4. Dallas, Texas – growth rate 1.91 percent
5. Salt Lake City, Utah – growth rate 1.33 percent
6. Denver, Colorado – growth rate 1.75 percent
7. Ogden, Utah – growth rate 2.05 percent
8. Charlotte, North Carolina – growth rate 1.92 percent
9. Orlando, Florida – growth rate 1.82 percent
10. Houston, Texas – growth rate 1.82 percent
11. Seattle, Washington – growth rate 1.1 percent
12. Atlanta, Georgia – growth rate 1.27 percent
13. Provo, Utah – growth rate 2.48 percent
14. Cape Coral, Florida – growth rate 2.41 percent
15. Palm Bay, Florida – growth rate 1.53 percent
16. Boise, Idaho – growth rate 1.66 percent
17. Minneapolis, Minnesota – growth rate 1.01 percent
18. North Port, Florida – growth rate 1.42 percent
19. San Jose, California – growth rate 0.51 percent
20. San Antonio, Texas – growth rate 1.83 percent

When it comes to real estate and investment property, the ATL MSA is highly regarded, and experts believe that property values will continue to increase into the foreseeable future.