London and New York are the most connected cities in the world – new data shows

London is the most connected city in the world followed by New York, according to new data published by Loughborough University.

Researchers from the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Research Network, based at Loughborough and Ghent University, have ranked 707 cities from across the globe according to how integrated they are with the world economy.

The World According to GaWC 2020 was compiled by looking at the size and function of the offices of large management consultancies, law firms, accountants, financial services and advertisers based in each city.

The more firms present in a city, and the more networked they are, the higher the city ranks.

Being home to the headquarters of one of the 175 businesses included in the study, such as Deloitte, Ernst and Young, KPMG, PwC, Epsilon, Experian, Barclays, Capital One, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, will also increase a city’s score.

Detailed data for 2016 and 2013 have also been released, providing free access for further analysis.

The top 20 connected cities according to GaWC 2020:

    1. London - UK
    2. New York - USA
    3. Hong Kong - China
    4. Singapore - Singapore
    5. Shanghai - China
    6. Beijing - China
    7. Dubai - UAE
    8. Paris - France
    9. Tokyo - Japan
    10. Sydney - Australia
    11. Los Angeles - USA
    12. Toronto - Canada
    13. Mumbai - India
    14. Amsterdam - Netherlands
    15. Milan - Italy
    16. Frankfurt - Germany
    17. Mexico City - Mexico
    18. Sao Paulo - Brazil
    19. Chicago - USA
    20. Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia

The ranking is used to classify cities into 12 categories from Alpha++ down to cities with sufficiency of services.

London and New York are the only two ranked Alpha++.

Seven cities including Hong Kong, Paris and Tokyo occupy the next level and are classed Alpha+.

The list then continues with ten more categories – Alpha, Alpha-, Beta+, Beta, Beta-, Gamma+, Gamma, Gamma-, High Sufficiency and Sufficiency.

Michael Hoyler, Reader in Human Geography at Loughborough University, said: “The GaWC world city network data have been collected regularly since 2000, and provide information on the locational strategies of advanced producer service firms – in accountancy, finance, corporate law, advertising and management consultancy – across cities worldwide.

“GaWC data can give us a unique insight into the emergence of a ‘world city network’, the highly integrated circuit of strategically important cities at the centre of the global economy.

“Collecting these data over two decades has allowed GaWC researchers to monitor and analyse the dynamics of corporate globalisation as it unfolds, and contracts, in cities around the world.

“Policy makers in cities can use the data to evaluate the position of their city within wider global networks of corporate service provision.”

The levels are interpreted as:


In all analyses, London and New York stand out as clearly more integrated than all other cities and constitute their own high level of integration.


Other highly integrated cities that complement London and New York, largely filling in advanced service needs for the Pacific Asia.

Alpha and alpha- cities

Very important world cities that link major economic regions and states into the world economy.

All beta level cities

These are important world cities that are instrumental in linking their region or state into the world economy.

All gamma level cities

These can be world cities linking smaller regions or states into the world economy, or important world cities whose major global capacity is not in advanced producer services.

Cities with sufficiency of services

These are cities that are not world cities as defined here but they have sufficient services so as not to be overtly dependent on world cities. Two specialised categories of city are common at this level of integration: smaller capital cities, and traditional centres of manufacturing regions.

View the press release on the Loughborough University website for further information and resources.