top cities for global trade
ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
Population: 88,512 | Unemployment: 4.1 percent | Fortune 500 Companies: 0
From 1960 to well into the ’90s, Asheville’s population hovered around 60,000 but grew by 20,000 over the past 15 years as it gained an international rep for being the next Austin, Portland, et al. What attracts folks besides a burgeoning art and music scene is a city with a focus on what’s important. Witness its Sustainability Management Plan that aims to reduce the city’s overall carbon footprint by 2030, having already implemented the Zero Waste initiative, installed more than 3,000 LED street lights and been the first U.S. city to be recognized as a Green Dining Destination.
Population: 96,577 | Unemployment: 4.4 percent | Fortune 500 Companies: 1
Beaverton’s rapid growth—it’s nearly doubled in size since 1990—is usually seen through a Nike prism, as the sporting goods behemoth is the city’s most famous corporate citizen. And Nike has brought a lot of global notice, as well as global visitors. But the city is now growing in directions all its own that are wide and varied, witness that it is home not only to Reser’s Fine Foods but rifle scope maker Leupold & Stevens, the Oregon Technology Business Center and the first ice rink in Oregon dedicated to the sport of curling!
Population: 107,349 | Unemployment: 3.4 percent | Fortune 500 Companies: 0
The fact that Boulder is a stellar startup cradle for technology is no surprise. Yes, it has a lot to do with being home to the University of Colorado, but the fact is new developments and entrepreneurship are as much a part of the landscape as the Rockies. The city gave birth to the disparate likes of Ball Aerospace, Celestial Seasoning and the biochemistry lab that became Amgen. Today, this tech hub is as well known for its quality of life—it’s been selected, among other things, as the “Happiest,” “Brainiest” and “Healthiest” city in the country.
Population: 441,003 | Unemployment: 5.0 percent | Fortune 500 Companies: 2
It’s just the 44th most populous city in the U.S.—Omaha is bigger—yet its global influence and power, particularly in Latin America, is undeniable. Nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America,” Miami is home to the headquarters of Univision and Telemundo. The United Nations said the city had the highest proportion of foreign-born residents of any city in the world (59 percent) and of those, 95.4 percent were born in Latin America. Downtown Miami is also home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States.
Population: 109,830 | Unemployment: 5.3 percent | Fortune 500 Companies: 0
This city has garnered a lot of attention as its population has increased by 400 percent over the past 25 years. Just a quarter century ago, Murrieta had fewer than 1,700 residents; today, that number stands at nearly 110,000 in a city renowned for being safe and energetically optimistic about the future. In fact, the city’s potential has garnered international attention, particularly from Asia, so much so that the city is now posting business development information on its website in Chinese.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Population: 8,550,405 | Unemployment: 5.0 percent | Fortune 500 Companies: 48
As the above “48” makes perfectly clear, there is a lot of money in New York. A. Lot. Consider that the number is nearly twice as much as the city with the next highest amount, Houston’s 25. But the city’s true treasure is the people it attracts from all around the globe—more than a few who work in one of those 48 Fortune 500s. While other world cities challenge New York for investment dollars, no city can lay a glove on it as being able to attract the very best talent from around the world.
Population: 220,289 | Unemployment: 4.0 percent | Fortune 500 Companies: 5
There’s a lot of growth and change in Richmond, something the city is embracing wholeheartedly whether it be its fast-developing food scene that Departures magazine dubbed “The Next Great American City” or its film and television industry—Lincoln was filmed there and the city now hosts the Richmond International Film Festival. Most importantly, the city that has seen its foreign-born population grow to 7 percent has been cited by the National League of Cities in its “Municipal Innovations in Immigrant Integration” report, which lauded Richmond for its initiatives in that area.
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
Population: 1,469,845 | Unemployment: 4.0 percent | Fortune 500 Companies: 5
Like Miami, San Antonio’s global reel has a decidedly Latin feel; 63 percent of the city’s population is of Hispanic or Latino origin. And that population is growing fast; in fact, from 2000 to 2010 San Antonio was the fastest growing of the nation’s top 10 largest cities. Add to that another 26 million visitors each year—San Antonio is one of the most popular destinations among foreign visitors. Nicknamed “Military City, USA” the city is home to one of the largest concentrations of bases in the U.S.; defense employs more than 89,000 and provides a $5.25 billion impact to the city’s economy.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
Population: 864,816 | Unemployment: 4.2 percent | Fortune 500 Companies: 6
Whether art, culture or cuisine, the “City by the Bay” has long been an international jewel but, more recently, its global vibe has struck the most important chord in business: money. Though San Jose gets all the attention and a cool nickname (Silicon Valley), San Francisco attracts the most global venture capital. A recent study showed San Francisco tech businesses took in $6.4 billion while San Jose, second on the report’s list, made due with $4.1 billion. San Francisco is so attractive to international investors that it soaked up more than 15 percent of all investments, well above the likes of New York, London and Beijing.
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA
Population: 101,586 | Unemployment: 4.7 percent | Fortune 500 Companies: 0
The city that’s home to the University of Notre Dame, founded by French priests and built by Irish workers, figured to find its way to connecting with the global community. It’s doing that through the Union Station Technology Center, Northern Indiana’s largest data center and home to enFocus, which employs local graduates to work on projects seeped in innovation and social entrepreneurship. The center is part of the Renaissance District, which, because of its proximity to Chicago and Notre Dame’s expansion in fiber optic connectivity, makes it very attractive for international tech investment.
Top cities for global trade