The Albany metro bounces. Theoretically.

metro resilience map U Buffalo 2011

The Northeast and Midwest: resilient.

The Albany metropolitan area ranks among the most "resilient" metros in the nation, according to rankings out this week from researchers at the University at Buffalo. The Albany metro ranked 48th out of 361 metros nationwide -- that's among the top 20 percent.

OK, so if you throw the Capital Region against a wall, it springs back? Sort of. Maybe.

As the FAQ for the rankings explains:

Regional resilience refers to the ability of a place to recover from a stress, either an acute blow, as in the case of an earthquake or major plant closing, or a chronic strain, as may occur with longstanding economic decline or unremitting rapid population growth. Conceiving of regions as capable of adaptation and transformation in response to challenges allows researchers and practitioners to understand the conditions and interventions that may make one place more or less resilient and why.

The rankings use 12 factors to determine resilience -- and that dozen is broken into three categories: regional economy, socio-demographic, and community connectivity.

The Albany metro's high overall ranking is due in large part to scoring well in those last two categories. The Capital Region's relatively high levels of education, health coverage, and "civic infrastructure" were all in the top 50. Low scoring: regional economic capacity -- the score for "business environment" was good (or bad) for just 243rd in the nation.

One of the interesting things about this ranking is that many slow-growing, stable, often-not-attention-getting metros in the Northeast and Midwest scored highly. As Kathryn Foster, the lead researcher, explained:

Metropolitan regions in the Northeast and Midwest tend to have more resilience capacity than those in the South or West, largely because these regions earn high scores for regional affordability, the proportion of their population that is insured, rates of homeownership and metropolitan stability. Notably, these factors coincide in some instances with a relatively slow-growing economy. The RCI is a measure not of how well these regions have performed economically, though. The factors of stability and connectivity that may hurt these regions in other metropolitan rankings help them in this index.

The top five metros in the ranking: Rochester, Minnesota; Bismarck, North Dakota; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Barnstable Town, Massachusetts; Dubuque, Iowa.

The bottom five metros: Hanford, California; El Centro, California; Merced, California; McAllen, Texas; College Station, Texas.

[via @brainpicker]

map: University at Buffalo Regional Institute / Institute of Governmental Studies at Cal-Berkeley

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