This ranking is compiled from a report released by Resonance Consultancy. Unlike most analytics companies, Resonance also heavily utilizes user-generated information. Sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Yelp, and various social pages provide the data to quantify experiential elements of culture, dining, nightlife, shopping, or sports.
To qualify, cities must have a population of at least 1 million. They are then listed using a combination of these key factors:
- A comprehensive sampling of all urban indices, including tourism, business, living conditions, crime, and homicides rates
- Qualitative evaluations by both residents and tourists
For the 2021 ranking, Resonance departed a little from the norm. Detailed data showing how each city responded to the Covid-19 pandemic was factored in, as well as aspects touching on outdoor experiences, clean air, and the ability to innovate.
The following are the six categories for which cities are ranked:
- Place: This consists of the average number of days for good weather, homicide level, outdoor recreational activities, the number of parks, plus surroundings and landmarks endorsed by residents and tourists.
- People: This category measures a city’s diversity, as well as the highest educational attainment – the percentage of a city’s populace that has achieved top honors in education i.e., a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Programming: This is commonly labeled as “things to do”. Includes theatres, operas, nightlife, dining, and shopping, as recommended by city residents and visitors on various online platforms.
- Product: This section is used to determine the true scope of a city’s infrastructure and institutions. It takes into account major tourist attraction sites, museums, the size of the local conference center, airport connectivity, as well as the ranking for the city’s institutions of higher learning.
- Prosperity: This category takes into consideration the total number of Global 500 corporate head offices hosted within each city and the GDP per capita. A favorable ranking in this category paints the picture of a robust city with a high probability to offer a quality living experience in the future.
- Promotion: A metric to determine how a city’s outlook is shared across various online channels. It particularly looks at the number of Google searches, TripAdvisor reviews, Facebook check-ins. The total Instagram hashtags constructed and shared online about each city and its popularity in Google Trends over a 12-month period are also taken into account.