How much global GDP do the world's 150 largest cities account for?

The Manhattan skyline at night

Steve Chiotakis: More people are moving to big cities around the globe. And that means urban areas are affecting the global economy more and more these days. That's the focus of our Marketplace Globalist Quiz.

Let's welcome Stefan Richter, publisher and editor-in-chief of TheGlobalist.com. Good morning Stephan.

Stephan Richter: Good morning Steve. Are you ready for today's quiz?

Chiotakis: I am ready. Bring it on.

Richter: So my question to bring on is what share of global GDP do the world's 150 largest cities account for? One hundred fifty cities, metro areas, global GDP. Is it 20 percent; 33 percent; is it close to one-half; or two-thirds of all economic activity around the world?

Chiotakis: Well, 150 largest cities probably accounts for a lot of people on earth so I'm going to say the highest number: two-thirds.

Richter: You are right.

Chiotakis: Wow!

Richter: In the future. Unfortunately, that's not correct.

Chiotakis: You got me all excited, Stephan. I was about to do a dance.

Richter: Well, the 150 cities only account for 12 percent of the global population right now.

Chiotakis: I see. So I get another choice here. Let's try half.

Richter: Half is correct.

Chiotakis: Hey!

Richter: So it's four times more than the global population share of cities, which shows what centers of urban activity and economic activities those cities are. The top growers among those, however, are increasingly, from Asia, China, Latin America and so on, which shows that urban areas are becoming much more important, especially in the emerging market areas rather than just in the old world like Europe and the United States. The dynamism goes global and at some point, it may be two-thirds; definitely by 2030, 60 percent of the world's population will live in urban areas with amazing environmental infrastructure pressures that that involves.

Chiotakis: An urbanized planet, exactly. All right, we thank you, Stephan Richter from The Globalist.

Richter: Good to have been with you.

About the author

Stephan Richter is the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Globalist, a daily online magazine on the global economy, politics and culture.

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