Not all major cities are created equal, with some places around the world holding more influence over global business, culture, and politics than others. But what are the world's most influential cities?
That's a question that management consultancy firm A.T. Kearney tries to answer with its annual Global Cities Report. The report looks at which global cities "are improving in their competitiveness and what factors are driving that success."
It examines dozens of variables, which are then subdivided into categories: business activity, culture, human capital, political engagement, and information exchange. Scores in these categories are then added together to create a ranking.
New York and London top the list, with both cities miles ahead of their nearest rivals. The top 21 are spread around the world, though Europe dominates the list. Notably, the top five cities on the list have maintained their exact rankings from 2018.
Check out the world's most influential cities below.
The world's most influential cities
The world's most influential cities
21. Boston, Massachusetts
According to the 2019 Global Cities Index, Boston improved in both economics and innovation since last year. The New England city rose three spots in the rankings.
20. Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Dutch economy was anticipated to grow 2.6% over the course of 2019; Amsterdam moved up two spots in the rankings since 2018.
19. Shanghai, China
Home to the Chinese mainland's main financial center, Shanghai is also the world's busiest container port, making it a global hub for all kinds of trade.
18. Moscow, Russia
This capital sits in the largest country in the world. It continues to increase its global footprint and has the world's most university-sponsored incubators, according to the 2019 Global Cities Index.
17. Toronto, Canada
It may not be as well known as its American neighbors, but Toronto is a globally important city and has North America's third-largest stock exchange by market capitalization.
16. Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne was ranked as the top place for international students by the 2019 Global Cities Index and continues to lead in environmental performance.
Berlin still proves to be one of the most influential cities in the world and houses one of the oldest stock exchanges in Germany.
13. Seoul, South Korea
South Korea's capital continues to hold global importance. It is a major commerce hub and home to major brands, including Samsung.
12. Brussels, Belgium
Politics and bureaucracy dominate the agenda in Belgium's capital, the home of the European Union. Relatively small compared to many major cities, it punches well above its weight thanks to the EU.
11. Sydney, Australia
According to the rankings, Sydney is the most important city in the southern hemisphere. It is also considered one of the most livable cities in the world.
10. Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. is home to the United States' most important political institutions. In addition to American institutions like the White House and the Capitol, the city hosts international institutions including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Trading defines Chicago's importance as a major international city, with two of the biggest commodity exchanges based there. Agricultural products like wheat, corn, and pork are among the products that are traded on the city's mercantile exchanges.
7. Los Angeles, California
Home to Hollywood, Los Angeles means showbiz, with movie studios, TV stations, and more. Its West Coast location also makes it a key hub for trade with Asia.