The 440 Cities Driving Global Growth

Cities in emerging economies will play a huge role in increasing global GDP between now and 2025.

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Reuters

Cities are driving economic growth around the world and their impact will only become more powerful over time, according to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute. The report identifies 600 cities worldwide that will be responsible for nearly two-thirds of global economic growth between 2010 and 2025. But it's not traditional heavy-hitters like London or New York or Tokyo that will be leading the way in the near future. The cities behind most of the expected global economic growth in the coming years will mostly be concentrated in countries with emerging economies.

Of these 600 cities driving economic growth, 440 are located in emerging economies – mostly China, but also Latin America, South Asia and Southeast Asia. These are cities like Tianjin, Lusaka, Sanaa, Manila, Wuhan, Belo Horizonte, and Dhaka. The "emerging 440" are expected to account for roughly half of global GDP growth between 2010 and 2025.

Source: McKinsey Global Institute, "Urban world: Cities and the rise of the consuming class"

The other 160 cities in that top 600 – the developed 160 – will still play an important role in the economy, though to a lesser extent. As this chart shows, these cities were responsible for 36 percent of global GDP in 2010 but will only represent 17 percent of its growth in between 2010 and 2025.

Source: McKinsey Global Institute, "Urban world: Cities and the rise of the consuming class"

McKinsey anticipates that the growth in these emerging economies will create a new wave of urban dwellers who have incomes "high enough to become significant consumers of good and services." The report estimates that about 1 billion people will be added to this "consumer class" buy 2025. An estimated 600 million of them will be concentrated in those 440 cities.

Top image: Nairobi's skyline (Antony Njuguna / Reuters)

About the Author

  • Nate Berg is a freelance reporter and a former staff writer for CityLab. He lives in Los Angeles.