Alpha, Beta and Gamma Cities (Updated 2022)

Alpha++ city New York

Every few years, the Globalization and World Rankings Research Institute ranks important global economic cities. It is considered the leading institute ranking the world’s cities.

Cities are categorized as Alpha, Beta or Gamma cities based on their connectivity to the rest of the world.

Many factors are taken into account in this analysis, including cultural and political influence, although economic factors are the most important consideration.

Alpha cities are the primary nodes in the global economic network. Beta and Gamma cities are smaller global cities that link economic regions to the worldwide web.

Why are we writing about this? In case this is your first time visiting our blogs: Spotted by Locals is a travel company that creates blogs and apps, written by locals, for 80+ cities across Europe, North America and the Middle East.

A team of dedicated locals in each city keeps an eye out for the best spots in their cities so that visitors and fellow locals can experience the best of that city.

Of course, the cultural and economic factors of “our” cities are important to us.

While we do have guides dedicated to larger cities like London and New York, we take pride in writing about lots of less-visited cities as well, like those you’ll see lower down this list.

We believe that many popular cities are suffering from overtourism, so we encourage people to get off the beaten path and discover some less-known hidden gems.

Anyway, back to the point of this article: here’s a list with the latest data from 2020. Spotted by Locals cities (many of which are in one of the categories) are linked if you want to check our latest tips for those cities.

1. Alpha ++ cities

This category refers to cities which are most integrated with the global economy.

2. Alpha + cities

Alpha+ cities are the primary cities in the global economic network.

  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Shanghai
  • Beijing
  • Dubai
  • Paris
  • Tokyo

3. Alpha cities

An alpha city is a city that plays a huge role in the international community.

4. Alpha – cities

5. Beta + cities

Beta cities are ones with a moderate economic connection with the world economy.

6. Beta

  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Athens
  • Denver
  • Tianjin
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Perth
  • Casablanca
  • Kyiv
  • Montevideo,
  • Oslo
  • Helsinki
  • Chennai
  • Hanoi
  • Nanjing
  • Philadelphia
  • Cape Town
  • Hangzhou
  • Nairobi
  • Seattle
  • Manama
  • Karachi
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Chongqing
  • Panama City.

7. Beta –

  • Wuhan
  • Manchester
  • Geneva
  • Osaka
  • Stuttgart
  • Belgrade
  • Calgary
  • Monterrey
  • Kuwait City
  • Caracas
  • Changsha
  • Bratislava
  • Sofia
  • San Jose
  • Zagreb
  • Dhaka
  • Xiamen
  • Tampa
  • Zhengzhou
  • Tunis
  • Almaty
  • Shenyang
  • Lyon
  • Minneapolis
  • Nicosia
  • San Diego
  • Amman
  • Xi’An
  • Guatemala City
  • Dalian
  • St Petersburg
  • Lagos
  • Quito
  • Jinan
  • San Salvador
  • Kampala
  • George Town (Cayman Islands)
  • Muscat/Ruwi
  • Detroit
  • Edinburgh
  • Jeddah
  • Hyderabad
  • Lahore
  • Austin

8. Gamma +

Gamma cities are ones with a minor economic connection with the world economy.

9. Gamma

  • Durban
  • Vilnius
  • Gothenburg
  • San Juan
  • Nantes
  • Ankara
  • Santa Domingo
  • Wroclaw
  • Ottawa
  • Dakar
  • Malmö
  • Bristo
  • Tirana
  • Colombo
  • Turin
  • Valencia
  • Guayaquil
  • Taizhong/Tai hung
  • Managua
  • La Paz
  • Nashville
  • Tegucigalpa
  • Haikou
  • Wellington.

10. Gamma –

  • Port Louis
  • Accra
  • Asuncion
  • Bilbao
  • Maputo
  • Douala
  • Nassau
  • Harare
  • Poznan
  • Luanda
  • Cleveland
  • Fuzhou
  • Nagoya
  • Kansas City
  • Katowice
  • Málaga
  • Queretar
  • Harbin
  • Milwaukee
  • Penang
  • Salt Lake City
  • Columbus (Ohio)
  • Kaohsiung
  • Limassol
  • Sacramento
  • Belo Horizonte
  • Lausanne
  • Taiyuan
  • Edmonton.

Plenty of cities still to expand to for us :)

The GAWC institute also created a very cool graphic of interconnectivity between these world cities in 2010 (PDF, large!).

Spotted by Locals (2008) is an online travel community publishing city guides in 82 cities.

All content is created by hand-picked local writers and photographers. Our Spotters live in the city they write about, speak the local language, write only about their favourite spots and keep their tips up-to-date. Planning a city-trip? Try our app!

Real people, awesome spots, slow travel. Experience a city through the eyes of a local. Make contact, meet people & support the local economy. That’s what Spotted by Locals is all about.

Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)