The Reputation Institute has released a slew of data for 2013 in a series of reports which rank the global reputations of cities and countries around the world. A good reputation for a place is much more that just the talk of the water cooler – there are big economic and social effects that are the direct result of how people view an area’s reputation. Places with a positive reputation have big advantages, especially in areas of foreign investment, tourism, increased exports, and have better diplomatic relations with the public.

A criteria and methodology has been applied for determining a city’s reputation, with performance indicators broken down into three “dimensions”: appealing environment, advanced economy, and effective government. Cities that were well balanced between these three dimensions and performed well in all of them were the ones with the higher reputation. Positive signs in these areas mean that people would recommend living in, visiting, working in, investing in, or buying products or services from this city. Everything was applied to a point scale out of 100.

With a score of 77.3, Sydney, Australia took the top spot. With over four and a half million people advocating for living, working, and doing business in Sydney, the city finally surmounted third place, a position it held for the past two years. First place was overtaken from Vancouver, Canada who held the title in 2012 and London, England in 2011.

London was absent from the top 10 of 2012 as Vancouver is absent from the top 10 in 2013 (in 2013 however, London returned at number 9). This highlights how competitive the standards are, as well as how close all members of the top 10 are in relation to each other. It is unclear how much current events play in the overall reputation (both enhancing and damaging). The successful 2012 olympic games may have helped London get back into the top 10. However recent issues surrounding Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford will affect the city’s reputation in the future and may cause it to disappear from the list in 2014.

Even though Sydney scored the highest overall, they did not finish in first place for any of the three performance indicators. Rome took top place for highest reputation in appealing environment (80.9), New York for advanced economy (87.7) and Zurich for effective government (75.1).

In terms of actual supportive behavior, which is led by perception, these cities took the top spots:

  • Venice, IT – Best city to visit (86.5)
  • New York, US – Best city to invest in (70.6) or to buy from (74.0)
  • Toronto, CA – Best city to work in (73.6)
  • Sydney, AUS – Best city to live in (74.7)

The cities with the greatest improvement in overall reputation from 2012 were Moscow, Russia with an 11.8% improvement, Toronto, Canada with an 11.5% improvement, and Amsterdam, The Netherlands with an 11.2% improvement. The negative evolution  was greatest in Nairobi, Kenya with -12.7%, Caracas, Venezuela with -10.5%, and Tehran, Iran with -9.4%.

The complete top ten is as follows:

  • Sydney, AUS 77.4
  • Toronto, CA 76.9
  • Stockholm, SWE 76.9
  • Vienna, AUT 76.9
  • Venice, IT 75.8
  • Florence, IT 75.8
  • Edinburgh, UK 75.1
  • Zurich, SW 74.7
  • London, UK 74.4
  • Copenhagen, NED 73.0

With only 4.4 points separating the top ten, we can see that these are all cities which have a well rounded approach an execution to local government. They excel in not only creating a place where people want to live, they have local governments that are effective in putting good policy into action.

The full report from the Reputation Institute contains the top 100 G8 countries by reputation as well as greater breakdowns of the methodology used to determine these numbers. You can download the report, and other helpful reports, at the Reputation Institute’s website.