Methodology Worlds | World’s Best Cities


Our methodology is a combination of core statistics from more than 400 global cities and resident and visitor perception indicators like user-generated ratings and reviews.

Resonance interprets this data through the lens of three key factors—Livability, Lovability and Prosperity—to define each city’s Place Power Score.

Our Methodology

World’s Best Cities Methodology

How we ranked the World’s Best Cities in 2024

Every year, Resonance analyzes 270+ global cities (principal cities of metropolitan areas with populations of more than one million) to determine the Top 100 by using a combination of core statistics and qualitative evaluations and recommendations by locals and visitors in digital channels such as Tripadvisor, Google, Facebook and Instagram.

While many factors shape our perception of cities as desirable places to live, work or visit, the Best Cities rankings focus on factors that demonstrate moderate to strong correlations with attracting talent, visitors and/or businesses to urban areas based on our extensive analysis of a wide range of data sources. While factors such as time to commute to work, crime or housing affordability do indeed shape our perception of cities when it comes to choosing a location to live within a city, our analysis shows that these factors have little to no relationship with the performance of an urban area overall when it comes to attracting talent, tourism or investment – at least not in the short term.

So what are the current factors influencing the performance of cities in attracting visitors, talent and/or companies? Based on our extensive analysis, it’s an eclectic mix that ranges from the number of Fortune 500 companies and airport connectivity, to the number of nightlife and outdoor recreation experiences, to the volume of check-ins on Facebook and mentions on Instagram. These factors can change and evolve over time, and we have continually updated our methodology to reflect these shifts. Case in point: we have added factors like Walk Score and Biking to this year’s index and removed inputs like Weather and Safety to more accurately represent the latest verified drivers of talent, investment and tourism to a city.

This year, we’ve regrouped our previous six categories (Place, Promotion, Product, Programming, People, Prosperity) into three larger pillars that we utilize in our work with clients—Livability, Lovability and Prosperity—to define each city’s relative Place Power® Score.


Our most layered overarching category quantifies a city’s physical sense of place. To score a city within our Livability category, we evaluate the perceived quality of its natural and built environments. This includes how walkable and bike-friendly it is to how many quality parks, sights, neighborhoods and landmarks are recommended online by locals and visitors. We also look at key infrastructure and institutions such as the ranking of the city’s best university and the relative connectivity of its airport to other cities—factors that not only attract talent, but companies as well.

Walk Score
A city’s walkability score on Walk Score (

A city’s number of mapped bike routes per 1000,000 residents (Bikemap)

Sights & Landmarks
Number of quality points of interest, neighborhoods and landmarks recommended by locals and visitors (

Parks & Recreation
Number of quality parks and outdoor activities recommended by locals and visitors (

Airport Connectivity
Number of direct destinations served by the city’s airports (

Number of quality museums and arts institutions recommended by locals and visitors (

Score of the top local university (QS Rankings)


Lovability speaks to the relative vibrancy and quality of place of a city relative to its competitive set. Our research has shown for some time that the more vibrant the city is in terms of its culture, sports, dining and nightlife, the more visitors, young professionals and large corporations it attracts. A city’s lovability also inspires residents, businesses and visitors to promote a city to the world more than city marketers or chambers of commerce can ever hope to achieve. Resonance ranks a city’s performance in each of these areas based on the number of stories, references and recommendations shared online about that city in key user- generated digital channels.

Number of quality performing arts and cultural experiences recommended by locals and visitors (

Number of quality nightlife experiences recommended by locals and visitors (

Number of quality restaurants and culinary experiences recommended by locals and visitors (

Number of quality shopping experiences recommended by locals and visitors (

Number of quality family-friendly activities recommended by locals and visitors (

Facebook Check-ins
Number of Facebook check-ins (

Google Search
Number of Google search results (

Tripadvisor Reviews
Number of Tripadvisor reviews (

Instagram Hashtags
Number of Instagram hashtags (

Google Trends
Popularity on Google Trends in the past 12 months (


Human capital is becoming a city’s most valuable resource when it comes to generating wealth and prosperity, and, for many cities, it is increasingly in short supply. To evaluate the relative strength of human capital from one city to the next, Resonance measures both the educational attainment level of the city’s population and the percentage of people participating in the labor force.

We not only include obvious indicators of prosperity such as GDP per capita, but also the poverty rate to evaluate how well that wealth is distributed among a city’s population. Wealth and prosperity are also shaped by core statistics like business infrastructure (such as convention centers) and the presence or absence of large, recognizable corporations—despite the fact that start-ups and innovation increasingly drive a city’s development and economic growth. (We measure those, too.)

Educational Attainment
Percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher (OECD/UNESCO Institute of Statistics / U.S. Census, American Community Survey 2021)

Labor Force Participation
Percentage of the economy’s active workforce (World Bank/OECD/Statistics Canada/U.S. Census, American Community Survey 2021)

GDP per Capita
Value of goods and services produced per resident in the economy (McKinsey Global Institute)

Rate Percentage of the population living below the national poverty line (World Bank/Eurostat/UNICEF/OECD)

Fortune Global 500
Companies Number of Fortune Global 500 corporate headquarters (

Number of Startups
Number of registered start-ups in a city (StartupBlink)

Convention Center Size
Size of the largest convention center in a city (