A Major Divide Is Opening Up Between The World's Cities

Cities are becoming more important to the global economy than ever — unfortunately the cities that are leading the way are almost all overseas.

Brookings’ third annual Global MetroMonitor report found that 300 of the world’s top metro areas produced over 50 per cent of the world’s economic output in 2012, while making up just 19 per cent of the global population.

But the gap in economic growth between cities in the developing world and the developed world has widened.

Only three of the 76 U.S. areas included in the report have fully recovered from the recession — Dallas, Knoxville, and Pittsburgh — while 20 have actually lost ground. European cities are lagging too.

In comparison, three-quarters of the fastest-growing metropolitan economies in 2012 were located in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. China itself holds 13 of the top 20 spots on Brookings “overall economic performance index,” which is calculated using the annualized growth rate of real GDP per capita and the annualized growth rate of employment.

The map below is pretty telling. Dark red dots show the weakest growth in the past year while dark blue shows the strongest growth. The size of each dot correlates to each city’s GDP.

To see the rest of the data, check out Brookings’ interactive graphic:

Brookings GLobal metromonitor

Photo: Brookings Global MetroMonitor Report 2012

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