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Global Cities Index Methodology

How we compiled the 2010 Index.

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The Global Cities Index ranks cities’ metro areas according to 25 metrics across five dimensions. The first is business activity: including the value of its capital markets, the number of Fortune Global 500 firms headquartered there, and the volume of the goods that pass through the city. The second dimension measures human capital, or how well the city acts as a magnet for diverse groups of people and talent. This includes the size of a city’s immigrant population, the quality of the universities, the number of international schools, and the percentage of residents with university degrees. The third dimension is information exchange-how well news and information is dispersed about and to the rest of the world. The number of international news bureaus, the level of censorship, the amount of international news in the leading local papers, and the broadband subscriber rate round out that dimension. The final two areas of analysis are unusual for most rankings of globalized cities or states. The fourth is cultural experience, or the level of diverse attractions for international residents and travelers. That includes everything from how many major sporting events a city hosts to the number of performing arts venues and diverse culinary establishments it boasts and the sister city relationships it maintains. The final dimension-political engagement-measures the degree to whicha city influences global policymaking and dialogue. How? By examining the number of embassies and consulates, major think tanks, international organizations, and political conferences a city hosts.

The Global Cities Index ranks cities’ metro areas according to 25 metrics across five dimensions. The first is business activity: including the value of its capital markets, the number of Fortune Global 500 firms headquartered there, and the volume of the goods that pass through the city. The second dimension measures human capital, or how well the city acts as a magnet for diverse groups of people and talent. This includes the size of a city’s immigrant population, the quality of the universities, the number of international schools, and the percentage of residents with university degrees. The third dimension is information exchange-how well news and information is dispersed about and to the rest of the world. The number of international news bureaus, the level of censorship, the amount of international news in the leading local papers, and the broadband subscriber rate round out that dimension. The final two areas of analysis are unusual for most rankings of globalized cities or states. The fourth is cultural experience, or the level of diverse attractions for international residents and travelers. That includes everything from how many major sporting events a city hosts to the number of performing arts venues and diverse culinary establishments it boasts and the sister city relationships it maintains. The final dimension-political engagement-measures the degree to whicha city influences global policymaking and dialogue. How? By examining the number of embassies and consulates, major think tanks, international organizations, and political conferences a city hosts.

Christina Larson is an award-winning foreign correspondent and science journalist based in Beijing, and a former Foreign Policy editor. She has reported from nearly a dozen countries in Asia. Her features have appeared in the New York Times, Wired, Science, Scientific American, the Atlantic, and other publications. In 2016, she won the Overseas Press Club of America’s Morton Frank Award for international magazine writing. Twitter: @larsonchristina

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