2007 Fast Cities

AUSTIN, Texas

Population > 1.5 million

Leading indicator > Highest number by far of Wi-Fi hot spots per capita in the United States

Fast companies > Dell Computer; Whole Foods Market

Austin's young population (75% are under 45) fuels a white-hot entertainment industry. The South by Southwest festival draws thousands of media professionals to the "live-music capital of the world" (1,580 bands! 70 venues!) each March, and film production has increased tenfold in a decade. The result: a host of young media and related technology companies, like Robert Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios and Powerhouse Animation Studios.