The world's top cities - the view on the ground

Ipsos's "Top Cities" survey finds New York, London and Paris as clear winners when people around the globe were asked their views on the world's best cities.

Ipsos’s “Top Cities” survey finds New York, London and Paris as clear winners when people around the globe were asked their views on the world’s best cities. The Cities Index is based on a combined score of the percentage singling out that city as one of the three best places (a) for business (b) to live and (c) to visit.

This unique survey also provides a series of “national viewpoints” in the form of the perspectives of each of the 24 countries covered in the survey. Here are the Top 5 cities according to the British public:

Rank Overall (Cities Index) Best for Business Best to Live In Best to Visit
1 New York London Sydney New York
2 London New York London Sydney
3 Sydney Abu Dhabi Auckland Rome
4 Abu Dhabi Hong Kong New York London
5 Hong Kong Tokyo Toronto Paris

Other headlines include:

Across the world, Paris does very well, ranked equal 2nd overall.  It is rated the top place to visit by 13 of the 24 countries covered.  But Paris falls down as a place to “do business” – even in France it is only ranked 5th.

London also does very well in the survey, placed 2nd alongside Paris.  But it achieves relatively weak scores from China. The online Chinese public place it 9th as a city to do business (they rate New York 1st).  And London comes in 7th as a place to visit, with Paris being the destination of choice for Chinese consumers

The German public see Berlin as No 2 for business and No 1 as a place to live.  But they look further afield when they think about where they want to visit: Berlin doesn’t even make the German top 10; Sydney is top.

On-line Indian consumers give their highest scores to Singapore, with Mumbai (and London) doing well

In Spain, where 4% say the economy is in “good” shape, Madrid fails to make the top 10 overall, while the Spanish public are keen to move to northern Europe: their 3 top places to live are Stockholm, Zurich and Berlin.

In Italy, Rome fares little better – in 9th place overall.  Italians also show an interest in living in Zurich and Berlin (as well as Sydney)

Russians see Moscow as somewhere to do business – it comes out as their top world city as a place to work.  But they look elsewhere when they think about where they want to live or visit (Paris wins on both counts, with Moscow not even making the top 10).  If President Putin plans a “visit Moscow” campaign, he may need to start at home

The Japanese public LOVE Tokyo – it is number 1 on all categories.  And the same pattern is evident in Turkey, where Istanbul comes out number 1. (Fieldwork was conducted before the recent protests)

Ben Page, Chief Executive of Ipsos said:

“All countries are chauvinistic, but some are more chauvinistic than others. This unique survey gives us an on-the-ground view not just of what people around the world think of the world’s great cities, but also what they think of their own.”

The full details are available on the Ipsos Top Cities website:

Technical note 

  • The questions were placed on Ipsos Global @dvisor Wave 42 (G@42), an Ipsos survey conducted between 5-19 February 2013.
  • The survey is conducted monthly in 24 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries covered are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America.
  • The research is based on an international sample of 18,147 adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries. Sample size is approximately 1,000 per country, with the exception of Argentina, Belgium, Hungary, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample approximately 500+.
  • Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent country Census data.
  • The “Europe’s top city” findings are based on the ratings given by respondents in the 11 European countries covered in the survey.


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