Resonance Consultancy just released its 2024 ranking of the World’s Best Cities for 2024, and San Francisco made it into the #7 spot out of 270+ global cities analyzed. Of the US cities named, only New York City ranked ahead of SF at #3 on the list.
SF is no stranger to praise, having snagged the #14 spot on this same list for 2023, as well as other accolades including world’s coolest neighborhoods and world’s most beautiful streets.. But this top-10 achievement certainly warrants a place on the trophy shelf.
Why #7 in the world?
Resonance credited San Francisco’s innovative start-up culture, wealth, and pursuit of outdoor public spaces as the main reasons for its success. SF ranked at #5 on Resonance’s Prosperity Index, driven by the city’s educated workforce and high salaries; and came in at #3 on Henley & Partners and New World Wealth’s “World’s Wealthiest Cities Report 2023.”
Cutting-edge green spaces like Salesforce Park and Presidio Tunnel Tops sealed the deal, not to mention the “most daring bike and pedestrian infrastructure in America” featuring 464 miles of protected bikeways.
Granted, the study also took San Francisco’s less-shiny parts into account, including the city’s 30% office vacancy and significant population decline. Between 2020-22, SF’s population dropped more than any other US county, although it’s begun to slow. This was enough to take SF down a few pegs in the rankings.
How did they decide?
For nine consecutive years, Resonance has ranked the 100 best cities in the world based on a comprehensive methodology. They begin with a bigger list of 270+ global cities, which they define as “principal cities of metropolitan areas with populations of more than one million.”
This year Resonance investigated 24 subcategories grouped into 3 main pillars: Livability, Lovability, and Prosperity. The Livability category includes factors like walkability, airport connectivity, parks and recreation, and sights and landmarks. The Lovability category includes cultural experiences, restaurants, Tripadvisor reviews, and popularity on Google Trends. And finally, the Prosperity category includes educational attainment, the poverty rate, GDP per capita, and labor force participation. These subcategories, in addition to many others, helped to create a thorough report on every single city from the list.
For 2024 they added factors like Walk Score and Bikability, and removed some others such as Weather and Safety. This was done to “more accurately represent the latest verified drivers of talent, investment and tourism to a city.”
Who else made it into the top 100?
The World’s Best Cities for 2024 was topped by the following cities:
- London, England
- Paris, France
- New York City, USA
- Tokyo, Japan
- Dubai, UAE
- San Francisco, USA
- Barcelona, Spain
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Seoul, Korea
US cities made up nearly a quarter of the list, including Los Angeles, CA at #15; Chicago, IL at #16; and Washington, DC at #17. California representation included San Jose at #38 and San Diego at #51.