Chicago Ranks Tenth Worldwide in PwC's Cities of Opportunity Study of Global Centers of Business, Finance and Culture

London posts the highest score; New York takes second

Competition for talent, capital and economic clout drives cities to build and maintain resilient urban communities

May 19, 2014, 09:00 ET from PwC US

CHICAGO, May 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Chicago placed in the top 10 among 30 cities studied by PwC US in the sixth edition of its Cities of Opportunity report, released today. The Windy City performed impressively, recording top 10 scores in seven out of the 10 indicators and in over a third of the variables. Most notably, Chicago scored highest in the cost indicators category, moving up seven places from 2012 to become the second most affordable city globally, just behind Los Angeles.

Chicago ties London and Singapore for sixth place in health, safety and security, receiving a healthy boost in this indicator from its number one rank in hospitals and health employment. The city also scored high in sustainability, rising six places since 2012 to seventh place.  Chicago made significant inroads against recycled waste, advancing to the 11th spot and jumping ahead of New York to tie San Francisco for third place in air quality.

Chicago improves on its 2012 scores in ease of doing business, coming in seventh place, tied with San Francisco, and performed well in several variables including employee regulations, shareholder protection and ease of starting a business. In terms of demographics and liveability, Chicago ties with New York for 10th place but outperforms in the areas of quality of life, ease of commute and traffic congestion.

"Chicago's strong showing in our Cities of Opportunity study highlights the welcoming environment Chicago creates for businesses and residents," said Jim Kolar, Managing Partner of PwC's Greater Chicago market. "The city's high marks for affordability, sustainability, intellectual capital, innovation and health employment are critical indicators that help Chicago attract and retain the talent and businesses the city needs to stay competitive with the rest of the world."

The Cities of Opportunity key indicators and top three cities within each are:

  • Intellectual capital and innovation: Paris, London, San Francisco
  • Technology readiness: London and Seoul (tied for first place), Stockholm
  • City gateway: London, Beijing, Singapore
  • Transportation and infrastructure: Singapore, Toronto, Buenos Aires and Seoul (tied for third)
  • Health, safety and security: Stockholm, Sydney and Toronto (tied for second)
  • Sustainability and the natural environment: Stockholm and Sydney (tied for first), Paris and Berlin (tied for third)
  • Demographics and livability: Sydney, London, San Francisco
  • Economic clout: London, Beijing, New York
  • Ease of doing business: Singapore, Hong Kong, New York
  • Cost: Los Angeles, Chicago, Johannesburg

The full report is available at The site also features in-depth video interviews with leaders including Bob Moritz, PwC's US Chairman and Senior Partner, Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT's Center for Digital Business, and Ulla Hamilton, Deputy Mayor of Stockholm for entrepreneurism.

Cities of Opportunity 6: We, the urban people
In June, PwC will release Cities of Opportunity 6: We, the urban people, which will include findings from a global survey of 15,000 PwC professional staff—comprised of an average of 20 percent of staff in each of the 30 cities. The study,  which was used to enrich the data of the main Cities of Opportunity 6 report, will provide an in-depth look at demographics and quality of urban life, including responses on commuting, urban priorities, likelihood of remaining in the city, preferences for relocation, and spending patterns, among other revealing points.

Cities of Opportunity is based on publicly available data, using three main sources: global multilateral development organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; national statistics organizations, such as National Statistics in the UK and the Census Bureau in the US; and commercial data providers. The data was collected during the third and fourth quarters of 2013. Besides adding Jakarta, Nairobi, and Rio de Janeiro to the study, PwC also replaced Abu Dhabi with Dubai, which brought the study to 30 cities total, the largest to date. The scoring methodology was developed to facilitate transparency and simplicity for readers, as well as comparability across cities.

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