Beantown Topples New York, Texas Rockets, as ‘Free-Fall’ California Cities Plummet in 14th United States City Innovation & Competitiveness Ranking

BRISBANE, Australia, July 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Boston beat New York in the United States’ most innovative cities list, of 118 cities published for the 14th year by data analysts 2thinknow this week. Boston’s win was attributed to a multi-faceted tech sector including robotics, a diverse urban economy, and world-leading research, despite Covid-19 circumstances.

While remaining the home of ‘big tech’, Silicon Valley fell further to sixth in the U.S. ranking. The San FranciscoSan Jose combined area had been a past winner in 2018, and usually ranked within the top three.

In further bad news for Governor Newsom, Californian cities fell a record 24 places on average across the United States. The analysts in a statement ascribed this to "poor business competitiveness, inability to implement policy, rising living costs, among the world’s highest cumulative tax rates, endemic homelessness, high property prices and a general lack of strategic direction by what was once the leading state of the U.S."

Unfortunately, the analysts saw few positive scenarios for California without a refocus on fundamental economics – the cities were described as in "free-fall". Imbalances caused by "tech dominance of the local economy, a confusion of policy intent with outcome, a focus on non-essential issues and high input costs for energy" were noted as needing to be overcome to correct course.

Continuing previous trends for Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth (3) and Houston (4) rose further since 2019. This was ascribed by the analysts to the "lower cumulative taxes and strong local economies fostering the growth of a diverse range of corporations of all sizes."

Also in the top ten, Miami (9), Seattle (8), Atlanta (7) and Chicago (6) although the analysts noted that future volatility was likely to hit Chicago.

As the rankings were rebalanced to compensate for digital ‘work-from-home’ corporate teams, the analysts noted U.S. workers were far more digital-ready as a workforce than almost all other nations.

"The mass exodus from major American cities has surprisingly strengthened home-towns, as local expertise flooded back to their roots… and dialled-in via Zoom or Teams from home." Christopher Hire, director at the data analysts noted.

On this basis, cities such as Lexington KY (21), Cedar Rapids (26) and Anchorage (29) enjoyed a rapid rise of over 60 places each.

The latest U.S. results followed on from the previous release of global five hundred list of world’s most innovative cities by the analysts. In a global context, U.S. cities were stronger against European capitals.

For the first time, in this global list more than half (54%) of top hundred cities were in the United States.

Globally, Canadian cities did not do well. Previously high-ranked cities like Toronto plummeted which was attributed to the "centralist policies of the Trudeau administration damaging the competitiveness of provinces".

The 162 indicators were the same across the U.S. and global lists. In 2021, these were balanced to address digital transformation, economic recovery, start-ups, technology, smart cities, science, engineering, creativity, mobility and other key civic areas. Data included latest Covid-19 outcomes for all cities.

The analysts noted that all Innovation Cities Indexes were based on a shorter timeframe than usual. This was due to risks such as rapid inflation caused by the Federal Reserve, ongoing fiscal stimulus, and systemic infringements on personal liberty by some state governments.


All global and regional indexes are published on 162 indicators of data can be purchased. The creator of the city ranking is 2thinknow, data analysts established in Melbourne in 2006 from research started in Vienna in 2005. 

Media contact:
Christopher Hire

SOURCE 2thinknow