America’s 7 Most Recession-Proof Cities: Should You Move Here Right Now?

Lincoln, NE: ChrisBoswell/iStock

Not that we mean to go all doom and gloom on you, but there are a lot of experts out there predicting that a recession is coming.

According to a recent Duke University survey that polled more than 500 chief financial officers across the United States, almost half said a recession was likely by the end of  2019—and a whopping 82% predicted that it would get here by the end of 2020.

Why the dark outlook? Put the blame on indicators like the stock market downturn, decreasing demand for American exports, and of course, a slumping housing market.

Still, if and when this setback happens, it won’t hit us all equally.

According to a new report by, certain cities are surprisingly recession-proof, meaning they “offer stability during economic turbulence.” To find these hidden enclaves, their analysts looked for areas where employment rates remained strong and steady despite our nation’s economic ups and downs. They also assessed these places in terms of affordability—for housing and otherwise—and, since life is more than just salaries and mortgage payments, pinpointed areas that were also “vibrant, positive places to live, no matter what the stock market is doing.”

While no one can say for sure what our nation’s economic future will bring, these seven towns may leave you sitting pretty, regardless of what financial storms come our way.

1. Lincoln, NE

Lincoln has been experiencing slight but steady economic growth, and where there’s no real boom, there’s no real bust. Plus, state government jobs (Lincoln is the state capital, for those of you who remember your elementary school geography lessons) and work at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have kept employment steady.

There’s even a rousing tech environment there, as Lincoln is located in the nation’s “Silicon Prairie,” and has been mentioned on lists of best start-up ecosystems in the Midwest. Tech entrepreneurs feel right at home here in this fertile environment.

Median home price: $182,000

To see more: View all Lincoln real estate listings

Recession proof city home

A median-priced home in Lincoln, NE

2. Wichita, KS

Wichita has become surprisingly livable, with a freshly renovated, surprisingly hip downtown area, a low unemployment rate of 3.5%, and—get this—cost-of-living figures that are almost 14% below the national average!

Lower mortgages help account for the fact that Wichita residents have the third-lowest income-to-debt ratio in the nation. That means you can enjoy all the newly added entertainment facilities and restaurants when you go out, and have a nice home with all the fancy accoutrements when you stay inside your lovely, reasonably priced home.

Median list price: $149,900

To see more: View all Wichita real estate listings

Recession proof city home

A median-priced home in Wichita, KS

3. Fargo, ND

Fargo has a history of being amazingly steady during the country’s economic ups and downs, especially the downs, because jobs in oil and agriculture keep the local economy cranking. In fact, during the last recession, Fargo’s unemployment rate held steady, at 3.4%!

But it’s not just about oil and farming. Microsoft has a presence here, and there’s also North Dakota State University supplying plenty of gigs. And the area’s parks, 90 miles of trails and numerous hockey and skating rinks make it extremely livable—if you don’t mind cold weather, that is.

Median list price: $234,900

To see more: View all Fargo real estate listings

Recession proof city home

A median-priced home in Fargo, ND

4. Victoria, TX

Victoria is a charming little city located between Houston and Corpus Christi (which is only 40 miles from the beach). Real estate prices are stable, and the economy is thriving, thanks to businesses like a Caterpillar, DuPont, INVISTA, and Formosa Plastics.

It’s a quaint place, with just over 60,000 residents, but it has plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities and attractions, such as the Texas Zoo. Texas has traditionally been able to weather recessions better than most states.

Median list price: $176,000

To see more: View all Victoria real estate listings

Recession proof city home

A median-priced home in Victoria, TX

5. Knoxville, TN

Now we’re getting a little more cosmopolitan. Knoxville is known for gliding through recessions, and is set to do so again, thanks to rock-steady housing prices and plenty of jobs at places like HGTV headquarters and the University of Tennessee.

Knoxville is also extremely livable, making’s list of  “Happiest Cities to Work in Right Now” and Forbes’ list of most Recession-Resistant Cities for Real Estate. There’s a lovely and lively downtown, a temperate climate, and a location just a short hop from the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as Nashville and Chattanooga.

Median sales price: $159,000

To see more: View all Knoxville real estate listings

Recession proof city home

A median-priced home in Knoxville, TN

6. Tulsa, OK

Land in Oklahoma is relatively inexpensive, and there’s plenty to be had. The state’s agriculture and energy industries have supported Tulsa through thick and thin.

And when it comes to culture, Tulsa is no slouch. Rich in Wild West and Native American history, it’s also the home of a first-class opera company and two symphonies!

Median sales price: $137,500

To see more: View all Tulsa real estate listings

Recession proof city home

A median priced home in Tulsa, OK

7. Des Moines, IA

Des Moines is the fastest-growing city in the Midwest, and is not only a Midwest hub for agribusinesses and financial services, but it also has a robust start-up ecosystem, making it one of the top cities for tech hires in 2018, believe it or not. It also houses the headquarters of Meredith, the nation’s largest magazine publisher.