How Charlotte beat out Las Vegas, Dallas and Houston in this business survey

Charlotte topped Yelp’s list of 50 cities where businesses have the best chance of success.

Yelp, a website and app that allows customers to review businesses, considered 10 categories in the rankings, including active life, beauty and spas, food, restaurants and shopping.

Charlotte ranked among the top 10 in all but two categories: Nightlife and event planning and services. The Queen City still ranked in the top 20 for those two categories.

“There’s just a lot of strength across the board,” said Carl Bialik, data science editor for Yelp.

Top 10 cities that Charlotte beat out included Charleston, S.C., Las Vegas, Dallas, Salt Lake City and Houston.

Yelp took into account businesses’ locations and other factors “based on Yelp-related activity for that business: how many reviews it received, how often people looked at its Yelp page and so on,” according to a news release.

The data gave an overview of the health of businesses in cities and prospects for new businesses opening, Bialik said. The rankings were based on data from July through September.

Many top-ranking cities also have strong population growth, Bialik said.

Yelp's Local Economic Outlook


The Charlotte Entrepreneur Growth Report found in 2016 that Charlotte is behind similar cities on innovation, entrepreneurship and investments in startup companies.

That study also found that Charlotte is far behind other cities in academic funding for research and development, in part, because Charlotte lacks a medical school, which would attract federal grants.

But despite lacking a medical school and major research universities directly in Charlotte, many college graduates live in North Carolina, Bialik said.

“There’s a lot of brain power going around the state,” he said.

Staff writer Ely Portillo contributed. Cassie Cope: 704-358-5926, @cassielcope