Brookings new report stated that the world’s 300 largest cities accelerated global economic growth and acted as important economic engines in the world economy

The Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program has just published the newest Global Metro Monitor 2018. The report findings included that 300 largest metropolitan areas in the world grew faster than the global economy, accounted for two-thirds (2/3) of global GDP growth and provided more than a third (over 1/3) of global employment growth between 2014-2016.

The largest global urban metropolitan areas are the economic growth engines of the modern global economy. These areas are creating both opportunities and challenges in an era, in which national political, economic, and societal trends are increasingly influenced by subnational interests. Report provides rare local snapshot of economic and development dynamics of the largest metropolitan areas across the world.

The Global Metro Monitor 2018, the fifth edition of the report, analyzes metropolitan areas based on a composite index combining employment and GDP per capita growth. Emerging economies metro areas continued to disproportionately drive growth, accounting for 80 percent of the 60 top-performing metro economies in the index. This urban growth story cannot be told without a deliberate focus on China, which now incredibly houses more than one-third (1/3) of the world’s 300 largest metropolitan areas.

“The findings in the report certainly reaffirm the vast economic power and reach of large cities within the global economy,” the authors note. “Yet, while some metro areas are pulling away from their surrounding regions, others are struggling to create prosperity for their citizens. In this place age, leaders at both the local and national level must possess an understanding of metropolitan economic advantages and weaknesses, with a strong focus on policies that will improve employment and incomes.”

The report also finds that between 2014-2016:

  • Metropolitan areas in China and in Asia-Pacific experienced the fastest GDP per capita growth in the world.
  • Middle Eastern and African metropolitan areas displayed the fastest employment growth.
  • Large metropolitan areas in Eastern Europe and in Central Asia expanded their employment growth even as the rest of the region stagnated.
  • Latin American metros experienced the slowest GDP per capita and employment growth.
  • North American and Western European metropolitan areas experienced only moderate growth during this period, but a strong showing in the technology sector propelled two Silicon Valley Anchors (San Jose and San Francisco), into the top four of the report’s performance index. 

Global Metro Monitor 2018 analyzes the economic dynamics in the world’s 300 largest metropolitan areas, specifically focused on employment and GDP per capita growth. Global Metro Monitor aims to capture how large metro areas are responding to continued changes in the world economy, concerns of rising place-based disparities, and how these metro areas are growing relative to their surrounding nations and regions.

The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings delivers research and solutions to help metropolitan leaders build an advanced economy that works for all. To learn more, please visit


Scroll to top