A study by small business resource website AdvisorSmith indicates nearly all the top 10 cities where Americans started the most new businesses are small to mid-size communities in the West and Midwest.

“Small and midsize cities took nine of the 10 top spots in our ranking,” AdvisorSmith spokesman Adrian Mak told International Business Times.

The top 10 cities are:

  1. Carson City, Nevada
  2. Boulder, Colorado
  3. Missoula, Montana
  4. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
  5. St. George, Utah
  6. Billings, Montana
  7. Bend, Oregon
  8. Bellingham, Washington
  9. Idaho Falls, Idaho
  10. Naples, Florida

The study focused on businesses with at least one paid employee, which number nearly 6 million nationwide. 

AdvisorSmith also formulated lists based on population, creating top 10 lists for small cities (fewer than 150,000), medium-size cities(150,000-500,000) and large cities(more than 500,000). Like the top 10 list, the respective city-size lists consisted largely of communities in western states, with Florida and Maine being the only eastern state exceptions.

“Economic and population growth has been strong in Western states, and mid-size cities, in particular, are seeing growth from those seeking more affordable real estate prices in cities that are still economically vibrant,” Mak continued.

“The presence of a major University was a factor in promoting new business growth in five of the cities: Boulder, Missoula, St. George, Billings and Bellingham. Tourism businesses serving high income customers pushed Naples into the top 10.”

Researchers surveyed 353 cities across the country. AdvisorSmith used information from Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau to determine which had the most businesses for every 1,000 residents.