The list, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by Citigroup, ranked 120 of the world’s cities in terms of their global competitiveness now and into 2025.
Stockholm, which was 13th place in last year’s ranking, soared into the top ten this year and was rated as the third most competitive in Europe after London (second) and Paris (seventh).
“We’re very happy to place so highly in Europe,” Ola Zetterberg, head of Stockholm Business Region, told The Local.
“Despite being almost at the North Pole and having a smaller metropolitan area of only three million people, we’re performing quite well.”
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New York topped the global list, with Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo rounding out the top five. The list measured each city’s competitiveness through economic size and growth, its business and regulatory environment, institutions, the quality of human capital, cultural aspects, and the quality of environmental governance.
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It also pointed out that over 50 percent of the world’s population lives in
cities, generating more than 80 percent of global GDP. Furthermore, the report noted that almost all global growth over the next 30 years is predicted to take place in urban areas.
Stockholm recorded the biggest jump from last year out of all the top ten cities, with London’s leap of four places a close second. Other big improvements include Taipei, which jumped 14 places from 2012 to 11th place, and Copenhagen, which jumped six places to number 15. In Norway, Oslo jumped to 26th place after ranking 34th last year.
While Zetterberg couldn’t pinpoint exactly why Stockholm had risen in the ranking, he suspected the city’s proven success as a hub of innovation had something to do with it.
“We have a vibrant start up scene in sectors like ICT and life sciences that have produced a number of successful companies,” he explained.
However, the Swedish capital has a number of areas in which it needs to continue to improve if it hopes to maintain or improve it’s competitiveness.
“A lot of it is housing. We have a housing shortage we need to address. In addition, we need to improve and enlarge our transit infrastructure and do a better job of using the talents of new arrivals with high levels of education. I think a lot of other cities are better at doing that than we are here in Stockholm,” Zetterberg said.
“There is also a danger that we’ll get complacent because things are going relatively well right now. We can’t afford to become a bunch of fat cats who can’t catch any more rats.”
While Zetterberg thinks Stockholm “certainly deserves” its top-ten spot in the competitiveness ranking, he admitted that it might be hard to reach number one.
“Size matters if you are going to compete globally and there’s no getting around the fact that we’re a fairly small city,” he said.
1. New York
4. Hong Kong