Moody’s Analytics Creates Amazon HQ2 Top 10 List

Everybody’s trying to guess which city will land Amazon's coveted second headquarters. Moody’s Analytics applies a more data-driven approach.

It’s the corporate expansion project everyone is paying attention to: 50 cities have stated an interest in landing Amazon’s second headquarters, dubbed HQ2, and it seems everybody has an opinion on where the $5 billion investment and 50,000 jobs belong.

Amazon HQBut Moody’s Analytics has taken a more scientific approach to HQ2 than most to answer the burning question: Where should Amazon put its second headquarters?

Using Amazon’s stated preferences and its own understanding of relevant economic factors, Moody’s ranked 65 metro areas with a population of 1 million or more based on five broad categories: business environment, human capital, cost, quality of life, and transportation. Moody’s also threw in a sixth, more subjective category, geography. In each of the six categories, metro areas were awarded a score of zero to five, with five being the highest possible.

So, based on this ranking method, which city should land what could be the project of the decade?

Austin, TX, followed by Atlanta, GA, and Philadelphia.

Amazon would certainly be among good company in Austin: The city is home to Dell, the largest Samsung facility outside South Korea, Apple’s second biggest facility, a large IBM campus, and many smaller IT companies. It also boasts an “exceptionally well educated” labor force, lower cost of living within the business-friendly state of Texas, and a good transportation system, according to Moody’s.

The chart below shows Moody’s full Top Ten list. (With the additional geography category included, Philadelphia would move to first place and Pittsburgh would slide up to second.)

Amazon HQ2Click here for detailed information on each metro area that landed in the Top Ten.

Don’t agree with Moody’s results? Vote here for the metro area you think Amazon should choose for HQ2. And, if you want to know more about how the list was compiled, you can download Moody’s ranking model here.