Metropolitan areas are crucial drivers of growth in the American economy, taking different paths to prosperity depending on their industry mix, policy choices, and available resources. But while some parts of the country are thriving, others are falling behind. The Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities (BPC) index provides an objective benchmark for examining the underlying factors and identifying unique characteristics of economic growth in metropolitan areas. Our index uses a fact-based set of metrics such as job creation, wage gains, and technology developments to evaluate the relative growth of metropolitan areas. While national and international political and economic forces can affect near-term performance and can lie beyond a region’s control, the top-performing metros have cohesive strategies that allow them to leverage their assets more effectively. They offer important lessons that may be helpful to peer regions.