PROVO, Utah (ABC4) — Provo has been ranked as the second-largest boomtown in the U.S. after a large spike in population and economy during the pandemic years, according to a study conducted by LendingTree.

Provo claimed the number two spot after Austin, Texas, as a top town for sudden growth from 2019 to 2021. A boomtown is defined as a town “undergoing rapid growth due to sudden prosperity,” according to Oxford Languages.

Researchers studied multiple population and economic factors to determine the top boomtowns during the pandemic years. Some of those factors include changes in population, housing units, annual GDP, workforce size, unemployment rate, and median earnings.

Provo experienced the nation’s greatest population and workforce growth. The population rose by over 7% and the workforce grew by over 8% from 2019 to 2021. It also ranked top five in housing unit growth and GDP increase.

In addition, Provo took third place for the smallest income gap in the largest 100 U.S. metros, according to a previous study conducted by LendingTree’s MagnifyMoney.

“One reason Provo was so resilient was Utah’s proactiveness in the face of the pandemic. In fact, Utah was among the first states to release a comprehensive economic recovery plan, which has been linked to Utah’s ability to outperform other states’ economies throughout 2020,” the study read.

Eight of the top ten boomtowns in the U.S. were located in the south, with Provo and Boise, Idaho as the two exceptions. Metros in Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia took the other top spots in the study. The researchers believe areas in the south are attractive for outsiders due to warm weather and lower taxes.

On the other side of the spectrum, Honolulu, Hawaii, was the most “sluggish” town, meaning it ranked the worst in population and economic growth. Other “sluggish” towns included Hartford in Connecticut, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York.

Researchers say Honolulu likely lost revenue due to its dependence on the tourism industry, which took a hit during the pandemic. Los Angeles lost more than 200,000 residents likely due to rising home prices and remote work opportunities, according to researchers.

The study analyzed the 100 largest metros using the U.S. Census, American Community Survey, and U.S. Bureau of Labor data to find the town with the greatest rapid growth.

To read more about the study’s findings and methodology, click here.