San Francisco retains top spot as London climbs to second in Schroders 2024 Global Cities Index 

by | Feb 28, 2024

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San Francisco has ranked first in Schroders’ annual Global Cities Index for the second consecutive year, buoyed by the strength of the tech sector, following a year of advances in AI, and despite reported social challenges.

The Index, which ranks the performance of cities across four key criteria – Economic, Environmental, Innovation and Transportation, aims to identify those which combine economic dynamism with high quality educational institutions, transformational environmental policies and excellent transport infrastructure.

London had previously fallen from first to third place in the 2023 Index. This year it has risen to second place, sitting behind San Francisco due to slower household income growth. San Franscisco also maintained its dominant start-up and venture capital ecosystem, spurred by a new wave of AI investment. 


Manchester was the other UK city to rank in the top 30, supported by its relatively high environmental score due to its naturally cooler climate and low exposure to natural hazards, alongside strong net zero policies with specified emission reduction targets.

Hugo Machin, Portfolio Manager, Schroders Global Cities, said:

“This year’s clear winners are the larger US cities such as Houston and Dallas, which have benefitted from a re-appraisal of the transport score used in the rankings. This year, the Index places less weight on walk time and more on overall transport time as we believe cities should take a holistic approach to organising urban transport.


“Moreover, whilst it will hardly be a revelation to many, data continues to indicate that wealthy citizens are continuing to move to locations that have low crime rates and tax thresholds. This is why Austin, Miami and Charlotte have grown strongly in recent years with Austin now home to more fortune 500 companies than any other location in the US.”

Risers and fallers

Sitting in the heart of the Greater Bay Area, Shenzhen remains the top-ranked Chinese city, as it remains at the forefront of the consumer electronics industry. This is despite much tougher economic conditions in China given the slump in real estate and the insolvency of some large-scale developers. It was however a challenging year for Chinese cities overall, with both Beijing and Hangzhou dropping out of the top-30.


In the United States, Texan cities had a strong year. Houston rose over 40 places from 61st to 14th, Dallas rose from 58th to 20th, and Austin from 45th to 34th. Migration to the sunbelt has been going on for some time, but significantly increased during the Coronavirus pandemic years.

Furthermore, the enduring popularity of Texas, Florida and the Carolinas has been driven by an attractive combination of low personal tax regimes, attractive weather, and strong job creation. San Francisco also had a strong year. Despite reported social challenges encompassing homelessness and addiction, the city retained top spot.

Location2023 Rank2022 Score2022 Rank
San Francisco1 8.851
London2 8.703
San Jose (US)3 8.547
Hong Kong (City)4 8.359
Boston5 8.752
Seattle6 8.3412
New York7 8.684
Melbourne8 8.615
Singapore9 8.408
Paris10 8.3510
Los Angeles11 8.3013
Toronto12 8.566
Stockholm13 8.1918
Houston14 7.5461
Montréal15 8.2515
Chicago16 8.3014
Shenzhen17 8.1319
Atlanta18 7.7443
Philadelphia19 8.2017
Dallas20 7.5958
Vancouver21 7.9726
Minneapolis22 7.9132
Munich23 8.0421
Shanghai24 8.0025
Berlin25 8.0422
Sydney26 8.3411
San Diego27 7.9130
Amsterdam28 8.0323
Phoenix29 7.7442
Manchester30 7.9428

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