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Report: Houston Among Top 20 Global Cities of the Future

Published Mar 25, 2021 by A.J. Mistretta

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Houston ranks among the top Global Cities of the Future, inching its way up four spots on the latest report from the group fDi Intelligence. 

Houston came in at No. 19 on 2021/22 fDi list, which ranks major global cities based on foreign direct investment. That’s up from No. 24 when the ranking was published in 2018/19. Houston was only one of two U.S. cities among the top 20 on the latest list, with New York ranking seventh. 

Last year, Houston ranked No. 3 on fDi’s Tier 2 list of cities with populations under 8 million, but the new report looks at all cities globally. 

Partnership Chief f Economic Development Officer Susan Davenport said Houston’s elevated position on the list validates the region’s place as a magnet for foreign direct investment in the U.S. “Houston’s significant infrastructure—including our port and two commercial airports—along with our prime geographic location, large and diverse workforce and pro-business environment have long made us an attractive target for foreign investment and what we see is that attraction is only growing.” 

Today, 15 foreign governments maintain trade and commercial offices in Houston and the region has 41 active foreign chambers of commerce as well as one of the nation's largest consular corps. In addition, more than 1,700 Houston companies report foreign ownership while roughly one-in-four residents in the region are foreign born, contributing to Houston's well-recognized diversity. 

To create a shortlist for fDi’s Global Cities of the Future 2021/22, the fDi Intelligence division of the Financial Times collected data using the online tools fDi Markets and fDi Benchmark. Data was then collected for a total of 129 locations under five categories: economic potential, business friendliness, human capital and lifestyle, cost effectiveness and connectivity. 

fDi’s top 20 Global Cities of the Future: 

1. Singapore
2. London
3. Dubai
4. Amsterdam
5. Dublin
6. Hong Kong
7. New York
8. Shanghai
9. Paris
10. Tokyo
11. Beijing
12. Abu Dhabi
13. Bangalore
14. Munich
15. Wroclaw
16. Zurich
17. Toronto
18. Seoul
19. Houston
20. Warsaw

Learn more about international business in Houston and read the fDi report

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Houston Maintains Position as Most Diverse City in Nation

Houston has long been considered one of the youngest, fastest-growing, and most diverse cities in the nation— one with no ethnic majority and where nearly one-in-four residents are foreign-born. For the second year in a row, one ranking in particular has positioned Houston as the most diverse city in the nation. The report from personal finance site WalletHub compared 501 of the most populated cities in the nation, ranking them across five key dimensions: socioeconomic diversity, cultural diversity, economic diversity, household diversity, and religious diversity. “It’s important to embrace diversity – and it’s good for the economy, too. Not only have waves of immigration changed the face of the nation, they’ve also brought in fresh perspectives, skills and technologies to help the U.S. develop a strong adaptability to change. Economies generally fare better when they openly embrace and capitalize on new ideas,” explained WalletHub. While not reaching the top-spot of any one category, Houston ranked No. 1 overall with a diversity score of 71.87.  Here is how Houston scored in the 5 categories:  •    Socioeconomic Diversity: 96 •    Cultural Diversity: 31 •    Economic Diversity: 125 •    Household Diversity: 136 •    Religious Diversity: 53 “There is a consistent pattern in the literature that diversity (whether that is measured by race, religion, or immigration status) tends to lead to greater productivity and growth in cities,” Ryan Muldoon, Director of Undergraduate Studies; Associate Professor, Director of Philosophy, Politics and Economics Program, Department of Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences at University at Buffalo, The State University of New York told WalletHub when asked if there is a relationship between diversity and economic growth in cities.  According to research from the Greater Houston Partnership, Houston is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. city and had a population of 2,320,268 as of July 1, 2019, and nearly one in four Houstonians was born outside the U.S. Among the 1,648,768 foreign-born in the Houston metro area, 73.5% entered the U.S. before 2010.  A number of reports and analyses in recent years have named Houston among the most diverse cities in the U.S., often putting the Bayou City in the top spot.  WalletHub conducted their analysis by using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index method, which is a commonly accepted measure of market concentration that also works effectively as a general-purpose measure of diversity.  Learn more about Houston’s demographics here.  Learn more about living in Houston here. 
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