Des Moines-West Des Moines is No. 1 in a ranking of the economic strength of metropolitan statistical areas, according to a measure released today.


The ranking comes from economic research firm Policom Corp.


The ranking was derived using data from 1993 to 2012 and includes factors such as per capita income, construction, and retail data. It also takes into account growth in the time period studied.


The research is meant to determine if an area is growing or declining and to show characteristics of strong and weak economies. The highest-ranked areas have "rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time," according to research methodology.


"The Policom economic strength ranking is one of the most coveted rankings in the economic development world," Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, said in a statement. "It's a big deal for us because it gives site selectors and expansion prospects confidence that Greater Des Moines is the right place to grow their business.  Being number one in economic strength tells the world that there is no better place in the country right now to build or expand."  


Des Moines has moved up from No. 28 in the 2004 ranking to No. 1 out of 381 MSAs. It beat out the Austin-Round Rock, Texas, MSA and the Washington D.C.-Arlington, Va.,-Alexandria, Md. MSA, which was No. 1 last year.


Omaha-Council Bluffs was No. 8. Cedar Rapids was No. 30, and Iowa City was No. 52.