By Jami Gibson

I’ve been exploring a newer app made by the McKinsey Global Institute called Urban World. It tracks and extrapolates the growth of cities in emerging markets and shows how economic power is expected to change along with it. At Whittaker Associates, one of our services involves developing future scenarios for our clients, and this app focuses on one of the many factors we examine. While the app is limited in its predictive powers, it is historically accurate, and may be a good starting point for site selectors and strategists to see how the global landscape is changing.

Urban World uses points of light to map the concentration of GDP. As you travel through their timeline, from year 1 to 2025, you can see the shift of GDP concentration and the economic center of gravity moving from the regions of India and China, to Western Europe, then to the U.S., and finally back to China and India.

The screen captures below, taken from Urban World, show the GDP concentration worldwide in 2010 and looking forward to 2025.



The app also provides information about GDP by population segment for over 2,600 cities worldwide and the ability to compare them to one another. One interesting trend I noticed from 2010 to 2025 is the percent of the U.S. population that is in their prime working years as compared to China and India. In 2010, 15-64 year olds made up 64%, 71%, and 64% of the population in the United States, China, and India, respectively. By 2025, the population in that age range is expected to be only 60% of the U.S. population, while staying near 69% and 67% in China and India, respectively. The more people in your labor market, the more productive you can be, increasing GDP and economic power.

Urban World is a free app that contains useful information. If you have the time, download it and see where your city stacks up both now and in 2025. Is it the future you expected to see?