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New York, New York
May 3, 2011

press release (PDF 218K)

report (PDF5.7MB)

Analysis of Global Business Capitals Ranks NY #1 and Only Established Center to Maintain its Status in the New World Order

Toronto, San Francisco, Stockholm and Sydney Round out Top Five

New York City has emerged from the global recession as number one in this year’s Cities of Opportunity report, while its traditional “big four” rivals—London, Paris and Tokyo—dropped out of the top five. New York was the only traditional power center to maintain its position in the face of growing competition from emerging regional centers, which are increasingly luring talent and economic activity away from the “big four.”

The report, produced by PwC and the nonprofit Partnership for New York City, aggregates and analyzes a huge range of objective data from respected sources. By consolidating this information, the report is able to develop a quantitative ranking of 26 global financial centers in terms of their comparative performance across the following ten key indicators:  intellectual capital and innovation; technology readiness; transportation and infrastructure; demographics and livability; economic clout; cost; lifestyle assets; health safety and security; ease of doing business; and sustainability.

The most striking finding is that New York is the only traditional powerhouse to rank in the top five; London, Paris and Tokyo all got knocked out of the top tier by Toronto, San Francisco, Stockholm and Sydney, cities not known as key centers of global finance.

While these cities cannot match the size or economic clout of longstanding commercial hubs like London, New York, Paris or Tokyo, their performance highlights the changing global marketplace—one that rewards cities for taking a more holistic approach to nurturing, retaining and attracting creative minds.

This shift is reflected in the composition of the report’s top five cities since its first release in 2007. In that year, New York and Tokyo ranked first and second; London and Paris tied for third, with Toronto rounding out the top cities. In 2008, London moved up to second place, replacing Tokyo, which dropped from the top five. Last year, Singapore took the third spot from Chicago, behind New York and London, with Chicago and Paris tied for fourth.

“For more than a year, researchers at the Partnership and PwC exhaustively compiled and analyzed data from more than 400 different global sources,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for NYC. “We are pleasantly surprised to see how the totals broke in favor of NYC, but with clear competition rising from smaller, more livable cities.”

"Changes in communications, education and knowledge-sharing, transportation and urban migration are transforming world dynamics," said Bob Moritz, US Chairman and Senior Partner of PwC. "Cities that want to thrive, need to adapt to these changes.  Size is no longer a leading predictor of influence.  The success of cities such as Toronto, San Francisco, Stockholm and Sydney sends a clear signal that holistic balance makes a real difference."

An in-depth conversation about the findings and what they portend for great world cities will take place on Tuesday, May 3rd, featuring Edward Glaeser, a professor of economics at Harvard University and the author of the new book, “Triumph of the City”; Mortimer Zuckerman, the CEO of Boston Properties and the publisher of the New York Daily News; and Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation.

A City of Diverse Assets
New York City’s top ranking can be linked to its increasingly more balanced economy. It is able to compete with both historic economic centers like London and Paris but also smaller cities that have invested in intellectual capital and technology and have embraced policies that promote quality of life and sustainability.

New York City, which is home to more than 10 percent of the nation’s financial technology workers, ranked first in Technology Readiness, an indicator of a city’s ability to nurture a high-tech future and take advantage of technological advances in the global economy.  New York is closely followed by Seoul, then Stockholm, San Francisco and Chicago. 

New York also earned the highest ranking among the 26 cities in the Lifestyle Assets category, which measures cultural vibrancy, recreational opportunities, hotel rooms, skylines, tourism and green space.  This category favors larger, more mature cities that have well-established entertainment, tourism, fashion and culinary industries.  Paris is second on the list, followed by London, Toronto and Sydney.

New York City ranked third, behind London and Paris, when it comes to Economic Clout, another category that favors larger, more established cities.  This category indicates a city’s ability to influence world markets, attract investment, and stimulate growth.

New York City and San Francisco tied for third in the Intellectual Capital and Innovation indicator, coming in just behind Stockholm and Toronto. Paris rounded out the top five.  This ranking is derived primarily based on a city’s share of top universities and research capabilities, as well as its percentage of population with higher education.

New York also ranked third, behind Paris and Chicago, in Transportation and Infrastructure.  This category primarily measures a City’s overall ability to efficiently and cost-effectively transport people and goods, via mass transit, airports and roads.

In yet another third place finish, New York rated just behind Hong Kong and Singapore for Ease of Doing Business.  This category measures how open a city is to workforce recruitment, flexible work rules and hours, as we all as ease of hiring and firing workers.

Areas for Improvement
New York ranked 14th in Demographics and Livability, which measures variables such as viable housing options, commute times, climate and quality of life.  This is one category in which the smaller cities consistently outperform the world’s “power” cities.  The top cites were Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto and San Francisco; Los Angeles and Madrid tied for fifth place.

Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s comprehensive PlaNYC environmental initiative, New York City ranked 17th out of the 26 cities in the Sustainability category.  Berlin, Sydney and Stockholm top this category.  New York’s poor rating in part reflects the inherent challenges of a densely developed and highly trafficked city.  It also is an indication that the Mayor’s sustainability plan will take some time to produce lasting results, especially in light of setbacks such as the defeat of congestion pricing and a federal court ruling that struck down the administration’s effort to mandate greater fuel efficiency from the city’s taxi fleet.

New York City ranked 11th out of the 26 cities surveyed in the Cost category, which measures cost of business occupancy, overall cost of living, purchasing power and total tax rates.  North American cities generally fared best in this category, taking the top five spots (Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Toronto).

In the final category, New York City ranked ninth in Health, Safety and Security.

You can view the full report at

Cities of Opportunity is based on publicly available data, using three main sources: global multilateral development organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; national statistics organizations, such as National Statistics in the UK and the Census Bureau in the US; and commercial data providers.  The data was collected during the second and third quarters of 2009.  In the majority of cases, the data used refers to 2008 and 2009. In some cases, national data was used as a proxy for city data. Care has been taken to ensure that, where used, national data closely reflects the city. The scoring methodology was developed to ensure transparency and simplicity for readers, as well as comparability across cities. 

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About the Partnership for New York City

The Partnership for New York City’s mission is to engage the business community in efforts to advance the economy of New York City and maintain the city’s position as the center of world commerce, finance and innovation. Through the New York City Investment Fund, the Partnership contributes directly to projects that create jobs, improve economically distressed communities and stimulate new business creation. Partnership companies account for nearly 7 million American jobs and contribute over $740 billion to the national GDP.