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100 Top Economies: Urban Influence and the Position of Cities in an Evolving World Order

RESEARCH Report by Noah J. Toly and Sam Tabory
New York City's Times Square.

This report aims to better understand whether and how cities might harness their economic influence for influencing policy and governance debates at the national and international levels.

Key Findings 

When looking at cities, corporations, and nation-states, cities comprise 42 of the world’s 100 largest economic entities, demonstrating their large footprint in the global economy. 

Much of this urban economic vitality is concentrated in Asia. China alone is home to 8 metropolitan areas that rank among the world’s largest 100 economies, the most of any country except the United States, which is home to 12. 

Cities among the top 100 economies contribute an outsized proportion of their respective national gross domestic product (GDP), accounting for an average economic share that is 1.5 times greater than their share of the national population. (For example, Delhi contributes 4 percent of India’s GDP but is home to just under 2 percent of the country’s population.) 

Of the 42 cities among the top 100 economies, one-third are national political capitals. 

More than half of the cities among the top 100 economies are located along or in close proximity to a seacoast. 

About the Authors
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global Cities
Council expert Noah J. Toly
Noah J. Toly is a professor of urban studies and politics and international relations at Wheaton College, where he directs the Center for Urban Engagement. Before he was a senior fellow at the Council, he was named an Emerging Leader by the Council. From 2012 to 2013, he was appointed as a senior fellow at the University of Chicago's Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion.
Council expert Noah J. Toly
Sam Tabory
Former Research Associate, Global Cities, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Sam Tabory is a former research associate for global cities at the Council. He earned a BA in Spanish and Latin American studies from Tulane University, and holds an MS in community and regional planning and an MA in Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin.