This City Competitiveness Index ranked 120 cities (broadly defined) by their ability to attract capital, businesses and people both today and in 2025. Why cities over countries? The Index explains that by “the middle of the 21st century, seven out of ten people will be living in cities. Already global business is beginning to plan strategy from a city, rather than a country, perspective. Understandably so: well over half of the world’s population lives in cities, generating more than 80% of global GDP. Standard population projections show that virtually all global growth over the next 30 years will be in urban areas. The number of people living in the world’s cities is growing by nearly 60m every year.”
The methodology this city study used included 27 qualitative and 5 quantitative indicators grouped and weighted into 8 distinct categories: economic strength 30%; physical capital 10%; financial maturity 10%; institutional character 15%; human capital 15%; global appeal 10%, social and cultural character 5%; and environment and natural hazards 5%. Based on the methodology of this study, the 10 most competitive cities are:
Image of the central business district in Toronto courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
New York – Score: 75.7/100.
London – Score: 73.1/100.
Singapore – Score: 71.2/100.
Hong Kong – Score: 68.1/100.
Tokyo – Score: 68.0/100.
Sydney – Score: 67.3/100.
Paris – Score: 67.0/100.
Stockholm – Score: 65.7/100.
Chicago – Score: 65.6/100.
Toronto – Score: 64.7/100.
Toronto was the only Canadian city to make the top 10 followed by Vancouver which placed 28th and Montreal ranking 36th.
São Paulo, Incheon, and Mumbai are the top movers between 2012 and 2025. Improved infrastructure, economic progress, and improved cultural vibrancy have been a boon to emerging market cities.
North American and Western cities still reign. They attract capital, businesses, tourists, and a talented work force.
The Eurozone crisis will impact Southern and Eastern European cities. Madrid, Rome, and Bucharest all became less competitive.
Slowing Chinese growth. No Chinese city is ranked among the top 25 most improved, largely due to how much progress they made during the 2000s.
The information contained in this study is invaluable to entrepreneurs, corporations and even governments for planning future business strategies as it helps if the location represents a healthy environment for growth.