The World’s 10 Best Metro Economies

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More than a third (36%) of global job growth and two-thirds of global GDP growth are accounted for in just 300 cities around the world. More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and these 300 cities generate nearly half of the world’s economic output.

The fastest growth comes from metro areas in emerging market countries. A full 80% of the 60 best-performing metro areas in the world are located in emerging markets.

The data were published last week by the Brookings Institution in its “Global Metro Monitor 2018.” The top-performing metros were ranked based on employment and GDP per capita growth between 2014 and 2016. The Brookings authors noted:

This analysis does not attempt to measure which metro areas are most competitive, wealthy, or livable, as incredible differences in wealth and prosperity exist within the sample. Rather, it aims to capture how large metro areas are responding to continued changes in the world economy and, amid concerns about rising place-based disparities, how large metro areas are growing relative to their surrounding nations and regions.

In the two-year period of the study, 51% of the 300 metros posted higher growth rates than their regions in both employment and GDP per capita. In the advanced economies of the Asia-Pacific region, for example, 56% of the region’s large metros outperformed the region as a whole. In China’s emerging market, 88% of the country’s large metros outperformed the country. In North America, just 16% of cities outperformed the region.

Here are the top 10 global cities as ranked by Brookings. We’ve included the percentage growth rates for employment and GDP per capita for each city. Brookings also considers the absolute numbers in employment and GDP per capita growth.

  1. Dublin, Ireland: 2.5% employment growth; 21.2% GDP per capita growth
  2. San Jose, United States: 3.4%; 7.5%
  3. Chengdu, China: 5.9%; 7.2%
  4. San Francisco, United States: 3.8%; 4.1%
  5. Beijing, China: 2.8%; 6.3%
  6. Delhi, India: 4.7%; 6.6%
  7. Manila, Philippines: 5.7%; 5.5%
  8. Fuzhou, China: 6.0%; 7.8%
  9. Tianjin, China: 2.5%; 7.6%
  10. Xiamen, China: 5.4%; 7.1%

The full Global Metro Monitor 2018 report is available at the Brookings Institution website. A summary is also available there.

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