Urban World: mapping the economic power of cities

Global cities of the future, interactive map from McKinsey Global Institute's database.

Global cities of the future, interactive map from McKinsey Global Institute’s database.

Over the following years, six hundred cities – the City 600 – will generate more than 60 percent of global GDP growth, as reported in this article. The urban world is undergoing a broad transformation and its center of gravity is moving south and, maybe even more, east.

Half of global GDP in 2007 came from 380 cities in developed regions, with more than 20 percent of global GDP coming from 190 North American cities alone. The 220 largest cities in developing regions contributed another 10 percent. But by 2025, one-third of these developed market cities will no longer make the top 600 and one out of every 20 cities in emerging markets is likely to see its rank drop out of the top 600.

By 2025, 136 new cities are expected to enter the top 600, all of them from the developing world and overwhelmingly 100 new cities from china. To help companies find growth opportunities and policymakers to manage the increasing complexity of larger cities more effectively, MGI has built on its extensive research on the urbanization of China, India and Latin America to develop a database on more than 2,000 metropolitan areas around the world. The top 100 cities ranked by their contribution to global GDP growth in the next 15 years will contribute just over 35 percent of GDP growth to 2025 and the top 600 will generate 60 percent of global GDP growth during this period.

MGI finds that population in the City 600 will grow an estimated 1.6 times faster than the population of the world as a whole. By 2025, the City 600 will be home to an estimated 310 million more people of working age—and account for almost 35 percent of the expansion of the potential global workforce. Almost all of this increase is likely to be in the cities of emerging-markets—and two-thirds in the leading cities of China and India. (More data available here).

These data are very important, as we understand that such a radical change on the economic and demographic will bring about new challenges for governance. Cities are going to change and we have to think not only in terms of economic growth, but also of sustainable development in order to be sure that these cities will also be places in which people will be able to lead a good life.

In order to work towards these results it will be important to build civic collaboration and collaborative governance, strengthening networks between citizens, administration and businesses.


Dal 2025, ci si aspetta che 136 nuove città entreranno a far parte delle top 600, tutte quante provenienti da parti del mondo in via di sviluppo. Queste 600 città produrranno il 60 percento del PIL mondiale. I dati raccolti da MGI Cityscope, un database che analizza più di 2,000 aree urbane, rivelano l’aspettativa di una grande crescita demografica, da cui conseguirà un aumento della forza lavoro. La maggior parte di questa crescita sarà concentrata nelle città dei mercati emergenti. Questi dati sono il punto di partenza per una nuova sfida di governance.