Rochester leads the nation in resilience.

A survey of 361 metropolitan areas pegs the southeastern Minnesota community as the most likely to come out of a recession, natural disaster or other regional disruption relatively unscathed.

The Resilience Capacity Index, released this week by Kathryn A. Foster, director of a research and public policy center at the University at Buffalo, produces a single measure for each region based on its performance across 12 indicators, ranging from income equality and business environment to voter participation and rate of its population with health insurance.

Numerous other Upper Midwest locales made strong showings in the survey, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Bismarck, N.D., was second, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul in third (the best of the big urban areas); Dubuque, Iowa, fifth; Cedar Rapids, Iowa, sixth; and Appleton, Wis., seventh.

The Twin Cities did well, in part, because of their high level of voter participation.

Elsewhere in Minnesota, Duluth came in 32nd and St. Cloud 59th.

The survey found the Midwest and Northeast to be more resilient than the South or West, largely because these regions earn high scores for affordability, the size of their health-insured population, rates of home ownership and metropolitan stability, as measured by recent population change.

At the bottom of the rankings is College Station, Texas.

For a detailed breakdown, visit

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482