More than half the world’s population now lives in urban areas and the 300 largest metropolitan economies in the world account for nearly half of all global output. The concentration of economic growth and prosperity in large metro areas defines the modern global economy, creating both opportunities and challenges in an era in which national political, economic, and societal trends are increasingly influenced by subnational dynamics. This report, which analyzes employment and GDP per capita growth of 300 large metro areas (with a special feature on cities in the Middle East and North Africa), finds the following:
► Relative to the world, large metropolitan economies concentrated and accelerated economic growth between 2014 and 2016. Between 2014 and 2016, the 300 largest metro areas accounted for 36 percent of global employment growth and 67 percent of global GDP growth, rates that well exceed their 2016 share of each indicator. Emerging economy metro areas continued to disproportionately drive growth, accounting for 80 percent of the 60 best-performing metropolitan areas.
► Global trends mask notable variation in the performance of large metropolitan economies across world regions. Between 2014 and 2016, metro areas in China and Emerging Asia-Pacific nations experienced the fastest GDP per capita growth while Middle Eastern and African metro areas exhibited the fastest employment growth. By contrast, Latin American metro areas experienced the slowest GDP per capita and employment growth. Relative to the rest of their regions, large metro areas have experienced faster employment growth since 2000 but slower GDP per capita growth.
► Within world regions, a subset of high-performing metro areas is disproportionately accountable for employment and GDP per capita growth. Between 2014 and 2016, just over half of the world’s 300 largest metropolitan economies were “pockets of growth,” outpacing their regions in both indicators. Reflecting its historic urban economic growth, China led this category with 73 percent of its largest metro areas, followed by Emerging AsiaPacific (65 percent) and the Middle East and Africa (56 percent).
This report reaffirms the economic power of large cities in the global economy, but also reveals significant variation in urban economic growth across the world. While many large cities are pulling away from their surrounding regions, others are struggling. With so much economic activity centered in these 300 metro areas, their individual and collective progress will continue to shape global economic, political, and societal trends.
This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.