Here are the 10 most economically-powerful cities in the world; yes, NYC is No. 1

Methodology here, but this tries to be fairly comprehensive and looks at these elements:

  • Overall economic clout
  • Financial power
  • Global competitiveness
  • Equity and quality of life

The study uses those five indicators. Within each indicator, they rank 10 global cities 1-10. No. 1 gets 10 points, No. 2 gets 9 points, and so on down the line.

Here’s what they found. 

The top 25:

Top 25 Economically-Powerful Cities In The World

Probably no surprise that New York-London would be top 2-3, and lo and behold, they’re top 2. In the top 10, there’s four cities from Asia (Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul), two from the U.S. (Los Angeles and New York), and four from Europe (Paris, London, Stockholm, Vienna). Nice balance, generally speaking.

It also probably explains why most of the popular U.S. airline routes involve 1 NYC airport and 1 LA-area airport; that’s money flying across a distance to meet money, generally-speaking.

Here’s the top 10 in each indicator:

Global Economically-Powerful Cities

New York wins three of the five indicators, and comes in second in the other two. It’s no wonder the city generates $1.4 trillion to the economy each year, give or take. (London is $836 billion.)

If you look at the overall map here, though, there’s a troubling element:

World's Most Economically-Prosperous Cities

It seems pretty clustered, no? A ton of stuff in the Northeast of America (and some of California), then a bunch of stuff through the middle/north of Europe, and then a third cluster in Asia (all near coasts, pretty much). Africa, South America, and the Middle East/Russia/inland China basically have no dogs in this top 25 fight.

Basic theory, then: most of the world’s economically-powerful cities are really clustered in three sections of the world. Can you say “inequality?”

Ted Bauer