The Business of Cities’ Elo algorithm computes the overall performance of each city relative to all other cities on aggregate across multiple benchmarks. The Elo algorithm rates cities or regions by comparing their performance in every possible permutation against a list of other cities/regions. The system produces the most accurate comparative assessment of city/region performance, as it accounts for the fact that some cities/regions appear in more benchmarks than others, and that each benchmark measures a different number of cities.
Notes to figures
Cultural vibrancy and visitor appeal
Sources: Resonance World’s Best Cities Index (Programming, Product); Mori Memorial Foundation Global Power City Index (Cultural Interaction); NestPick Best Cities for Generation Z (Concerts); Euromonitor Top City Destination Rankings; European Commission Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor; Mastercard Destination Cities Index; TripAdvisor.
Range of measures imputed: Total overnight international visitor spend; number of overnight international tourist arrivals; number of high-quality museums and art galleries recommended by locals and visitors; number of high-quality cultural, nightlife and culinary experiences recommended by locals and visitors; concentration of museums, art galleries, cinemas, theatres and concert halls; museum and cinema attendance; satisfaction with cultural facilities; perceived attractiveness of shopping and dining facilities; perceived opportunities for cultural and historic interaction.
Sources: KPMG Global Cities Investment Monitor; fDi Magazine Tech
Startup FDI Attraction Index; Knight Frank City Wealth Index; fDi
Magazine Fintech Locations of the Future; IBM Global Location Trends;
PwC/ULI Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe; Savills Dynamic Cities
Range of measures imputed: Number of new job-creating investments;
number of FDI projects; attraction of FDI in tech startups and fintech firms;
perceived future real estate prospects among global investors.
Talent base and attractiveness
Sources: Resonance World’s Best Cities Index (People); JLL Innovation Geographies Report; Z/Yen Global Financial Centres Index (Human Capital); INSEAD Global City Talent Competitiveness Index (Attract).
Range of measures imputed: % of foreign-born residents; % of population with Bachelor’s degree or higher; % of population aged 20-40; % employment in high tech industries; number of world top universities; HQ presence of Forbes Global 2000 companies.
Clustered specialisations and innovation ecosystem maturity
Sources: Hickey & Associates Global Innovation Hubs; Findexable Global Fintech Index; Crunchbase; WorkThere Global Fintech Report; Startup Genome Compass Global Startup Ecosystem Report; StartupBlink Cities Ranking; JLL Innovation Geographies Report; European Startup Heatmap Survey
Range of measures imputed: Growth in millennial population; R&D expenditure; R&D employment growth; number of patent applications; VC funding; number of innovative firms specialising in AI; presence of fintech HQs; FDI investment in high-tech industries; number of startups; number of unicorns; growth in number of startups.
Unemployment and labour market inclusion
Sources: DELL Women Entrepreneur Index; local authorities and national
offices of statistics; OECD.
Range of measures imputed: Employment rate; unemployment rate; youth unemployment rate; number of new job postings; women’s labour force participation rate; % of company board members who are women.
Safety and security
Sources: Numbeo; Economist Intelligence Unit Safe Cities Index; local crime
reports and national offices of statistics.
Range of measures imputed: Local crime rate; percentage of people feeling safe walking during the day/at night; murder rate; citizen awareness of digital threats; deaths from natural disasters and road traffic accidents; number of hospital beds and doctors per 10,000 people; frequency and severity of terror attacks.
Affordability and costs
Sources: Numbeo; InterNations Expat Insider Expat City Ranking; Mercer Cost of Living Survey; Arcadis International Construction Costs Report; UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index.
Range of measures imputed: Cost of monthly transport pass; real estate costs; number of years a skilled service worker would need to work to afford a 1-bedroom flat in the city centre; purchasing power; cost of living (across a basket of goods & services); affordability of tuition fees and student accommodation; proportion of income spent on rent; housing affordability.
Commute and congestion
Sources: TomTom; local authorities; Moovit; Numbeo.
Range of measures imputed: Time spent in traffic; average commute time via public transport; % of population commuting for more than 1 hour via public transport; annual average congestion level.
Measures imputed: Perceptions of 500 global business leaders across 22 countries of the top 3 most attractive locations for setting up a business (KPMG); perceptions of 500 global business leaders across 22 countries of the top 3 cities with the best overall image (KPMG); perceptions of 220,000 global technology and urban planning journalists of the world’s smartest cities (EasyPark); perceptions of 900 real estate experts on the best cities in Europe for future real estate prospects (PwC/ULI); perceptions of financial industry experts on the depth and quality of cities’ green finance tools, weighted up or down by instrumental performance factors that affect overall green finance adoption and help to predict how each respondent would have rated the financial centres they are not familiar with (Z/Yen); perceptions of 1,000 startup founders of the best European cities to start a new company (Startup Heatmap Europe).
Measures imputed: Citizen satisfaction with cities’ healthcare systems, from IPSOS national satisfaction surveys, Numbeo, and local patient surveys (Medbelle); perceptions of >5000 parents globally of the best cities for neighbourhood child safety and citywide family friendliness (Movinga); perceptions of global travellers of the world’s friendliest cities (Big7 Travel); perceptions of 85,000 students globally on availability and quality of cities’ graduate employment prospects and ratings of student life (QS); perceptions of residents about safety and criminal activity (Numbeo); citizens’ reported levels of happiness and life satisfaction, from Gallup global polls (UN SDSN); citizens’ perceptions of quality of life and cities’ use of smart apps and technologies in support of citizen wellbeing (IMD); perceptions of 20,000 expats on their experiences of being an expat in 82 global cities (InterNations); perceptions of 5,000 global citizens of the cities with the best all-round brand (Anholt-IPSOS).
Track record of decarbonisation
Sources: Z/Yen Global Green Finance Index; Open Charge Map; Linkedin Talent Insights; World Bank; United Nations; local authority reports and national offices of statistics; Numbeo; Berkeley Earth; WHO.
Range of measures imputed: Perceived depth and quality of green finance tools; CO2 emissions (per capita); CO2 emissions reduction; concentration of electric vehicle charging stations; number of jobs in sustainability sectors; exposure to air pollution.
Appetite and ingredients for remote working
Sources: Wifi Map; online speed test; Coworker.com; TripAdvisor.
Range of measures imputed: Number and concentration of free public Wi-Fi hotspots; number of cafes and restaurants with free Wi-Fi; number of coworking desk spaces per city per capita; average 4G download speed.
Brand and visibility
Sources: Anholt-IPSOS City Brand Index; KPMG Global Investment Monitor; Resonance World’s Best Cities Index (Promotion); ING Media World’s Most Talked About Cities.
Range of measures imputed: Citizen perceptions of the best city brands; investor perceptions of the cities with the best all-round image; number of references, stories and recommendations shared about cities online; cities’ share of total online mentions.
Appetite to integrate next generation technology
Sources: Crunchbase; Uber; Bike Share Map; ADL Future of Mobility Report; Ookla Speedtest; 5G map; testmy.net; cable.co.uk; OECD; World Bank; UN; national/local statistics agencies; WEF; city-level plans and strategies.
Range of measures imputed: Quality of city strategy/vision for next generation technologies; availability, trial or implementation of local 5G services; number of innovative firms specialising in AI; availability of online shared mobility services (e.g. bike sharing, ride hailing).
Inclusive growth and gender equality
Sources: DELL Women Entrepreneur Index; World Economic Forum.
Range of measures imputed: Gender wage gap; % of women in leadership roles; % of women-owned startups; female labour force participation rate; % of women with tertiary education; % of female students at top universities.
Citizen participation and engagement
Sources: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance;
local election reports; ESI Thought Lab.
Range of measures imputed: % of population that vote; traffic of local government sites relative to population; number of methods used to engage citizens; presence of citizen experience officer; citizen familiarity with smart city initiatives.
Health security and healthcare satisfaction
Sources: Numbeo; IPSOS satisfaction surveys; local patient surveys; Economist Intelligence Unit; World Bank; local authority datasets; WHO; IARC.
Range of measures imputed: Citizen satisfaction with healthcare (affordability, accessibility, quality, wait times etc.); concentration of hospital beds and doctors; air and water quality; life expectancy; infant mortality; bioterrorism attacks; average emergency service response time.
Data analytics, cybersecurity and privacy
Sources: Economist Intelligence Unit; Kaspersky Lab; ITU; ESIThought Lab.
Range of measures imputed: Perceptions of government officials of preparedness for cyberattacks; perceptions of government officials of progress made in detecting, protecting against, and recovering from cyberattacks; citizen awareness of digital threats; presence of dedicated cyber-security teams in city government; % with internet access; % of computers infected.