Most Attractive Cities Worldwide: Highlights from Kearney’s 2023 Global Cities Index

In a world where cities are fiercely competing for capital and talent, navigating the complexities of social, geopolitical, and technological trends has never been more crucial. Kearney’s 2023 Global Cities Index provides valuable insights into the current status of key urban centers and how they attract, retain, and generate global flows of capital, people, and ideas in the dynamic global city landscape.

Let’s explore the key findings and rankings of the Global Cities Ranking.

Key Takeaways

  • Stability at the Top: The top-ranked cities remain constant, but lower-ranked cities show significant shifts.
  • Decline of US and Chinese Cities: US cities (Washington, Chicago, Boston) and Chinese cities have declined.
  • Middle Eastern Growth: Middle Eastern cities, especially Gulf capitals, improved significantly in rankings.
  • Southern European Cities: Cities like Madrid, Milan, Barcelona, Rome, Istanbul, and Zagreb showed substantial upward movement due to increased tourism and real estate investments.

Most Attractive Cities – Top Performers

New York Holding the top spot for the seventh year, New York’s business activity is driven by unicorn companies and growing trade flows, bolstered by increased political engagement and conferences.

London Retaining second place, London boosted business activity and improved its human capital and cultural scores by attracting talent and foreign students with graduate visas.

Paris – Holding third place, Paris remains stable across various dimensions but declined in cultural experience, putting the city at risk of falling in future rankings.

Tokyo – In fourth place for the ninth consecutive year, Tokyo improved in cultural and political engagement as it becomes a center for think tanks and international organizations.

Beijing Maintaining fifth position despite numerous companies experiencing lower business activity due to competition in other cities and countries, Beijing saw minor improvements in human capital and information exchange.

Brussels Entering the top 10 for the first time, Brussels’ strategic location as an EU hub has made it an ideal center of business activity and information exchange.

City Rank
New York 1
London 2
Paris 3
Tokyo 4
Beijing 5
Brussels 6
Singapore 7
Los Angeles 8
Melbourne 9
Hong Kong 10

Rising Stars

Several cities have made significant leaps in the rankings, showcasing their rapid development and growing influence on the global stage.

City Change
Milan 11
Abu Dhabi 10
Riyadh 9
Monterrey 8
Muscat 8
Manama 8
Madrid 7
Doha 7
Mumbai 7
New Delhi 7


The Global Cities Index Ranking assesses 156 cities across five dimensions:

  • Business activity: capital flow, market dynamics, major companies.
  • Human capital: education levels.
  • Information exchange: access to information via the Internet and media.
  • Cultural experience: access to museums, cultural and sporting events.
  • Political engagement: political events, think tanks, embassies.

About Kearney

Kearney is a leading American global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries worldwide. For nearly 100 years, Kearney has advised C-suites, government bodies, and nonprofit organizations.


The 2023 Kearney Global Cities Index Ranking showcases the top-performing cities, which have maintained their leading positions by successfully attracting and retaining global investment and talent. These cities demonstrated economic resilience and maintained strong local economies, avoiding the trend of decreased business activity during and after the pandemic. Yet, the rise of hubs in other regions, attracting human capital, signals increasing competition.

To stay ahead, cities must innovate and continually enhance their attractiveness, livability, and quality of life, ensuring they remain vibrant centers of opportunity and growth.

For a detailed look at the full rankings and insights, visit the 2023 Global Cities Report on Kearney’s website.

Want more? Explore our City Observatory for snapshots of how major cities around the world compare in terms of economic performance, city brand strength, sustainability and reputation.


Join us at the intersection of research and practice in place branding. TPBO spotlights impactful place brand stories, from showcases to our flagship yearbook. Learn from leaders in our Who is Who World Map. Connect with us on LinkedIn for insights and join our mailing list for the latest place brand impact stories and strategies.

- Introducing: World's Best in Place Branding -spot_img

FREE Download

Place Brand Leaders Yearbook 2024

Latest articles