Macau, China, came in first for economic performance among world cities, a study released on Thursday revealed. The research report, titled "Global Metro Monitor 2014," by Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase surveyed 300 cities and showed that cities in the developing world, especially China, dominated the top of the rankings for 2014. Some cities in developed economies such as North America and Western Europe performed well, too, signaling that developed nations still have potential for growth.
“When you look at the global economy through a metropolitan lens, you see just how uneven growth is in every major region,” Brookings research analyst and lead author Joseph Parilla said in a press release. “In developed economies like North America and Western Europe, cities like London and Houston are flying high, while others like Rotterdam and Montreal are struggling. Developing markets are growing faster overall, but vast differences separate cities in central China from those in the northeast, and cities in Peru and Colombia from those in Brazil and Argentina.”
Macau, classified in the report as a “developed Asia-Pacific” city, kept its top spot from last year’s survey. The study reports that Macau enjoyed an 8 percent increase in its GDP per capita from 2013 to 2014 and a 4.2 percent bump in employment. Macau is seen as a gambling haven, with over 30 casinos, including the world’s largest, the Venetian Macau. The Chinese territory has seen a tourism boom despite Beijing's crackdown on corruption, of which Macau's gaming industry has been a primary focus. Macau saw 31.5 million visitors last year, for a 7.5 percent jump from 2013, according to the South China Morning Post.
Five of the top 10 spots went to Chinese cities, as did 27 of the top 50. Eastern European and Central Asian regions also did very well, with Turkish cities taking four of the top 10 positions and Budapest, Hungary, catapulting 189 spots from last year’s ranking to No. 12.
While most developing economies have recovered from the 2007-2009 Great Recession, 65 percent of European cities and 57 percent of North American cities have not, according to the study. However, four U.S. cities (Austin, Houston, Raleigh and Fresno) and two U.K. cities (London and Manchester) shone through, snagging spots in the list’s top 60.
“The uneven pace of economic growth in the world’s major metro areas in 2014 reflects a still uncertain global recovery,” Brookings senior fellow and report co-author Alan Berube said in the press release. “As political gridlock and economic turmoil thwarts decisive action from national governments and multilateral institutions, city and regional leaders worldwide must forge their own economic destinies.”