How U.S. Cities Drive the Global Economy

Brad Plumer discusses the findings of a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute that delves into the impact that U.S. cities have on the national and global economy, and assesses the reasons for their influence.
April 18, 2012, 8am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Plumer expands on one of the key findings of the new McKinsey report, which found that, "the United States appears to be wealthier than Europe because it has a greater share of its population living in large, productive cities." This finding is based on data in the report that shows, "Roughly 83 percent of America's GDP came from its 'large cities,' defined as cities with a population of 150,000 or more. By contrast, China got 78 percent of its GDP from large cities and Western Europe got a surprisingly small 65 percent of its GDP from its large urban areas."

An article by Yuval Rosenberg in The Fiscal Times investigates one of the report's other key findings, that "Large U.S. cities are expected to generate more than 10 percent of global GDP growth in the next 15 years, a larger contribution than all of the large cities of other developed countries combined." The report attributes that advantage to America's second tier cities, rather than New York or Los Angeles, which "have economic and size advantages over the second tier of European cities."

"The U.S. has a broad base of cities such as Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco that are very large and important cities and contribute much more than their counterparts – let's say No. 3 to No. 30 in Western Europe," says Jaana Remes, a senior fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute and co-author of the new report. "It's the strength of the middleweight cities across the U.S. that really is the differentiator."

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Published on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 in The Washington Post
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