In 2014 Calgary ranked as one of the world's richest cities, but that ranking is almost certain to slip this year as a result of the oil price drop.
In a study of the world's 300 largest cities, released Thursday by the Washington-based Brookings Institution, Calgary came 14th in the measure of GDP per capita, at $64,540 (U.S.). At the top of the list was Zurich, at $82,410, and Oslo, at $82,040.
Calgary was also the best performing of eight Canadian cities in the Brookings report's broader rankings, which measured cities by "economic performance." That includes employment growth as well as expansion in GDP per capita. Calgary came in 53rd, Edmonton was at number 62, and Vancouver was at 74.
Many of the top performing cities in the overall rankings have a concentration in the commodities business, the Brookings researchers say, but they acknowledge that things could change dramatically this year because of the slide in oil prices.
There is a "significant possibility" the crash in oil prices will dent growth in some of the commodity-dependent cities, said Jesus Leal Trujillo, one of the authors of the report. The exposure to energy extraction is "both a curse and a blessing," he noted.
Macau came first in the Brookings overall rankings of economic performance, followed by three Turkish cities: Izmir, Istanbul and Bursa. Fifth was Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The fastest growth rates are in the developing world, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The bulk of the slower growing metropolitan economies are in Western Europe, North America and the developed parts of the Asia-Pacific region.
The report noted that growth is uneven in every major region of the world, with some cities doing well and others underperforming sharply. In Canada, for example, Winnipeg and Montreal came far down the list, at number 279 and 285 respectively, a contrast to the Alberta and B.C. cities which are closer to the top.
Developing markets have the fastest overall growth, the report said, but there, too, expansion is uneven. Many cities in central China are growing very fast, for example, because of government-funded infrastructure linking them to the coast. Those in the northeast part of the country are growing much more slowly.
The majority of the 300 cities surveyed have finally reached or surpassed the levels of employment and income they had before the 2008-2009 recession, the report said. But that is not the case in significant parts of the developed world. Fifty-seven per cent of cities in North America, and 65 per cent of those in Western Europe, have not yet seen a full recovery from the recession, it said.
80. Quebec City
*based on growth in employment and GDP per capita, among 300 cities