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When BestPlaces Founder and President Bert Sperling visited Austin, Texas on business last year, he thought to himself “There seem to be a lot of donut shops here.” Austin is known for its music scene, cultivated “weirdness,” and legendary barbecue, and while the Texas capital delivered in these expected areas he couldn’t shake the feeling that Austin might also be a donut town.

Round Rock Donuts in Round Rock, Texas
Round Rock Donuts in Round Rock, Texas

With that running around his head, “The Guru of Lists” found his next project - a list of the “Top Donut Cities” in the United States. But since BestPlaces is founded on hard data, it was a bit early to name Austin “Donut City, USA” simply because he walked past a handful of pastry purveyors on Rainey and 6th Street.

A methodology for the study soon became clear. The study would be limited to the Top 100 Metro Areas in terms of population, since roughly two-thirds of the nation’s population live in those cities. Then, these metropoli would be ranked in order of number of donut shops per capita. The per capita calculation is important in lists of this type, because if it were simply the TOTAL number donut shops, the largest cities would top the rankings, with no deference to density or frequency.

Number were crunched and results crystallized like the sugary coating on a Raised Glazed. While Austin had more donut shops per capita than Sperling’s home base of Portland, he was surprised when it failed to crack the top ten. But it was clear that one region in the United States reigned supreme in their affinity for donuts.

Top Ten Donut Cities

Here are the “Top Ten Donut Cities” in the United States. Oh, and we were sure to include both “donut” and “doughnut” shops.

  1. Providence-Warwick, RI
  2. Worcester, MA
  3. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA
  4. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT
  5. New Haven-Milford, CT
  6. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
  7. Springfield, MA
  8. Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, PA
  9. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  10. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY

For Complete Rankings and Results of the Top 100 Metros, click here.

New England is Donut Country

New England dominated the study, with the top seven cities being located in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, or Connecticut. Providence took the crown, with a whopping 23.25 donut shops per 100K residents.

Mega-chain Dunkin Donuts was founded in the Boston-area burg of Quincy in 1930, so it’s not a complete surprise that the New England region has a high density of donut shops.

Southern California

Bert was also recently in Los Angeles and was struck by the number of donut establishments there too. Did The City of Angels also have a thing for fried pastries?

The numbers show that Southern California does indeed love donuts. It’s not enough to crack our top ten, but the metros of LA, Oxnard/Ventura, and Riverside all make the top twenty.

And it’s got Randy’s Donuts, one of America’s iconic buildings. How many donut shops can you recognize from your airline seat?

Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood, California
Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood, California


As far as Austin, the would-be donut city that launched this study? It landed at #31, with 5.96 donut shops per 100K residents, compared to Sperling’s home city of Portland ranking #84, with only 2.1 donut shops per 100K residents. It’s all relative, we suppose.

That said, Dallas represented the Lone Star State in the Top Ten, placing 9th with 11.87 donut shops per 100K residents.

About Sperling's BestPlaces

Sperling's BestPlaces (www.bestplaces.net) is the nation's premier source for demographic and place data. Founded by author and researcher Bert Sperling over thirty years ago, BestPlaces helps over two million users a month make informed decisions about the best places for them to live, work, and retire. Bert's best selling books "Cities Ranked and Rated" and "Best Places to Raise Your Family" are published by John Wiley & Sons and he was tagged as the "The Guy Who Picks the Best Places" by the New York Times. Sperling's BestPlaces is responsible for more "Best Places" studies and research than any other single organization.


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