Ipsos Top Cities 2017

The 2017 edition of the Ipsos Top Cities Index finds that New York is the most popular city worldwide, retaining the title it claimed when the survey was first run in 2013.

The author(s)

  • Simon Atkinson Ipsos Knowledge Centre, UK
  • Michael Clemence Public Affairs, UK
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This year sees Abu Dhabi leapfrogging London and Paris into second position, with Tokyo, Sydney and Zurich on the same score in equal fifth.

People in 26 countries worldwide were asked which, from a list of 60 global cities, they felt were best to live in, do business in, and visit. The scores from the three questions were then added together to create the Ipsos Cities Index.

The cities in the global top five have unique strengths; New York and Abu Dhabi are unparalleled as centres for business but they score less strongly as a place to live or visit, whilst Paris tops the global list of tourism destinations but rates comparatively poorly as a business hub, failing to reach the top 10 on this measure. London and Tokyo have rounded profiles, scoring more evenly across the three dimensions, while Zurich and Sydney’s strength is derived from their high scores as top cities to live in.

The remaining top ten positions this year are occupied by Rome, Los Angeles and Amsterdam. The cities at the bottom of this year’s ranking are Nairobi and Tehran. 

Top cities index 2017 scores

Looking at each of the three dimensions, different cities come out on top:

  • New York is the most popular city to do business in, with 23% of the global sample selecting it from the list. Abu Dhabi is second with 21%, followed by London and Hong Kong (both on 16%), and Tokyo (15%).

  • Paris is seen as the best city to visit; 21% say it is one of the best destinations for tourism. Rome comes second on this measure on 20%, overtaking New York which scored 16% this year.

  • Zurich is the top destination to live in. Selected by 18% of our sample, it is narrowly ahead of Sydney – the city that also came second on this measure in 2013 – on 17%. Abu Dhabi has moved from seventh to third on this measure over the same period.

Generation strains

Different generations have different views of what makes a top city. Zurich is the favourite city for Baby Boomers (those born 1945-65), whilst the three younger generations – Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z – are consistent in placing New York and Abu Dhabi as their top two.

Sydney appears to have more limited appeal to younger people. Whilst it is the second-favourite city for Baby Boomers and third-favourite for Generation X, Millennials (aged 22-37) rank it as their ninth-favourite, whilst Generation Z (aged 21 and under) put it eighth. Other cities that have greater youth appeal include Los Angeles and Tokyo.

Top cities index: rank by generation

Ipsos Top Cities 2017 from Ipsos MORI

Interviews were conducted using the Ipsos Online Panel system, among 18,557 online adults aged 16-64 in 26 countries. Fieldwork was conducted between 21 April and 5 May 2017. Data is weighted to match the profile of each population.

The author(s)

  • Simon Atkinson Ipsos Knowledge Centre, UK
  • Michael Clemence Public Affairs, UK