by Trevor Williams | April 18, 2013
Atlanta has slipped two slots in a biennial ranking of American cities based on potential for attracting foreign direct investment.
While Atlanta came in at No. 5 out of 405 cities in the Western Hemisphere two years ago, it was No. 7 overall in the 2013-14 edition of fDi magazine's "American Cities of the Future" report.
The report evaluated 422 cities in five population levels based on their economic potential, human resources, cost effectiveness, infrastructure, business friendliness and FDI strategy.
New York retained its crown as the top city for FDI in the hemisphere overall, followed by Sao Paulo, which leapfrogged Toronto to take the No. 2 spot.
This was largely thanks to the Brazilian financial center's strong showing in the "economic potential" category, which takes into account data points including patents, inward manufacturing FDI and number of mega projects of more than $100 million, among many others. Sao Paulo also unseated Santiago, Chile, as the top Latin American city of the future.
Among metro areas with more than 4 million people, Atlanta fared well in human resources (fourth behind Boston, New York and Washington), economic potential (seventh) and business friendliness (sixth). It didn't crack the top 10 in cost effectiveness, a category dominated by Central and South American cities.
One possible explanation for Atlanta's slight decline was its disappearance from the top 10 in the FDI strategy category, which was based on the magazine's review of cities' investment recruitment plans. Only 127 of the 422 cities submitted plans. The Georgia capital ranked No. 7 in the category in 2011-12, but it's unclear whether its plan was submitted this year or if the former plan was evaluated for this year's report.
The report did note, however, that Atlanta and Miami were in the top five for attracting inward investment relative to population size.
In the overall top 10, Atlanta trailed Houston (No. 5), but outpaced San Francisco, Chicago, and Miami, which rounded out the top 10. Canadian cities Montreal and Vancouver were Nos. 4 and 5, respectively.
Visit www.fdiintelligence.com/Rankings to sign up and download the full report.
See Global Atlanta's analysis of the 2011-12 report here.