While just about everyone in the world knows that in aggregate the world has been going through a so-called “Great Recession,” not nearly as many people understand how it has impacted the different regions in the world. Now, thanks to a new study called the Global MetroMonitor produced by The Brookings Institute and the London School of Economics, they can.

The purpose of the MetroMonitor is to track real economic trends in 150 major metropolitan areas throughout the world and see how they have fared from 1993-2010. One of the primary reasons why metropolitan areas were selected is because they represent a diverse smorgasbord of economic activity from different industries. This smorgasbord tends to make them economic hubs that are good indicators of how the overall economy is doing in their region. The study chose to show the percent change in income, population and gross value added (GVA) to the domestic economy. To really make it interesting, the study also chose to split the data into 3 time intervals: pre-recession (1993-2007), recession (whatever year had the least growth in 2007-2010), and recovery (the period after the recession until 2010).

What were the results of the study? Basically, nothing that was really surprising. Asian and South American metros performed the best on the whole, showing that the emerging markets did weather the recession better than the more developed ones. European metros had better ratings than their American peers, but just barely. Metros on the African continent found themselves somewhere in between the two extremes represented by the prior 4 continents. The one surprise revealed in the study was Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul out-performed all other metro areas, posting income growth of 5.5% and employment growth of 7.3% in the recovery period.

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