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Tiers of US cities

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The question of which cities are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tier has never been asked on this forum to my knowledge. Since there are a lot of people from the south here, I think it would be interesting to get a southern perspective on the question. I'll stick my neck out and post my opinion first.

I think the question is hard to answer unless you have been to all of the big cities. I have been to many, but not all. IMO opinion NYC is in a league of its own by a large margin. Chicago, LA, Bay area, Boston and DC/Balt are in the next tier. Philly, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Denver, Charlotte? make up the next tier.

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I'll offer my opinion, since i've lucky visited almost every large city in the US.

Here is how I qualify the tier levels. I consider a Tier 1 city to be immediately international recongizable. And I mean internationally, ask someone in Iraq, Chile, or Georgia to name a couple of American cities, chances are the majority will not know the Tier 2 cities very easy. Second, is corporate/commerical presence. F500 are important, but that the most. Culture and Diversity - I think to be a tier one city you have to have a a good mix of cultures and diversity. Lastly, I consider it's "additional" national or interionally recongize organizations, government affairs. Bonus points for national or international recongized facilities, buildings, events, etc, etc.

Those are the qualities I look for when I consider Tiers, the actual Tiers work like this: Tier 1 - has each the qualities mentioned above and leaders in the national for each of those qualities. Tier 2 - Has a couple (but not all) of the qualities above, may or may not be a leader. Tier 3 - Has some of the qualities above, but probably does not lead in any of those categories.

Tier 1

NYC (although somewhat kind of on it's own)

LA

Chicago

Tier 2

Atlanta

DC

Philly

Boston

Houston

Dallas

Miami

SF

Seattle

Tier 3

Detriot

Denver

Charlotte

Portland

etc

I know I will catch some hell for grouping Atlanta and Houston with the likes of DC and SF. But honestly, at the end of the day, despite prehaps better tourisms and some name value, I honestly thing in most of the qualities above Atl, Houston and Dallas are at the same level, if not close enough to group together. This holds even more true when you leave the world of the skyscraper lover and get to the average person. But this is all personal opinion and I know others will disagree.

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At this point, I think most in Iraq have definitely heard of DC. From your defiition DC, SF and Boston are probably 1st tier, and that seems like too many. On the other hand, there are alot of people in the world who know of no US city but NYC and maybe LA/Hollywood.

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Tier 1

NYC

LA

Chicago

Washington DC

Tier 2

San Fransico

Houston

Dallas

Miami

Boston

Philly

Seattle

Detroit

Atlanta

Tier 3

All other major metros over 2 million not mentioned

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At this point, I think most in Iraq have definitely heard of DC. From your defiition DC, SF and Boston are probably 1st tier, and that seems like too many. On the other hand, there are alot of people in the world who know of no US city but NYC and maybe LA/Hollywood.

DC could easily be considered a 1st tier city. The only reason I don't consider it one, even though it has a substantial commerical base and government operations, it doesn't have the world financial presence you find in NYC or Chicago. Neither does Boston or SF IMHO. But again, IMHO to be tier 1 you need to be a leader in each of the categories. DC even falls a little short of being a leader in some of the items I mentioned, so it's a tier 2 city in my mind.

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My List, tiers also in order.

Tier 1

New York City

Chicago

Los Angeles

Tier 2

Toronto

Seattle

San Fransico

Philadelphia

Detroit

Tier 3

Boston

Houston

Atlanta

Montreal

Washington

ect

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I didn't want to try the entire world because it is too complicated, and too few people have real first hand knowledge of most world cities.

Even in the US, the slections tend to be based on ones locale.

Boston is a much larger financial center than many realize. It recently lost two major headquarters in JH and Fleet, but BOA will headquarter its investment banking operations in Boston. Mellon Bank from Pitt also does this. Boston is home to many mutual fund Cos such as Fidelity (worlds largest) Putnam, Prudential and others. It already was the US home for Manual Life. It has large REITs like boston properties. Thomas Lee is on of the biggest buyout companies in the US along with Bain capital. State street bank is the largest bank in the world for custodial services, based in Boston. Boston has a significant stock exchange that trades NYSE listed securities and BEX listed only secuirties.

Boston is one of the top 2 or 3 biotech centers in the US some say it is #1. The area is the biggest recipient of NIH grants in the US. Large coroperations and small have set up their R&D headquarters including Merck, Novartis, Biogen, genzyme and many others.

Boston also has one of the biggest high tech concentrations in the US, second to silicon valley. NE has the 2nd largest amount of VC money spent in the region after No Cal/Si valley. Some CA companies actully relocate to the Boston area to get away from the problems in CA and still bewhere there is a big talent pool.

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My List, tiers also in order.

Tier 1

New York City

Chicago

Los Angeles

Tier 2

Toronto

Seattle

San Fransico

Philadelphia

Detroit

Tier 3

Boston

Houston

Atlanta

Montreal

Washington

ect

Being that you are from outside the US, I must ask. What about Detroit made you put it in a tier above any of the cities you put in tier 3? Nothing against Detroit but...

I also question putting Philadelphia above Boston, Atlanta, and even Houston. I'd say Philly and Atlanta should be at the same level, whether that means moving Philly down or Atlanta up? I'm not sure. I'd lean toward bumping Philly down.

Then there's Washington, without the federal government it wouldn't exist, but the federal government is there. Is the federal government enough to make it a 2nd tier city?

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"Tier 1

New York City

Chicago

Los Angeles

Tier 2

Toronto

Seattle

San Fransico

Philadelphia

Detroit

Tier 3

Boston

Houston

Atlanta

Montreal

Washington

ect"

I would have a difficult time putting Seattle above any of those cities in Tier 3.

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Let me say first that I realize this is just an opinion thread, so there is no set of right answers. I find it mind blowing that someone would think Philly, Detroit, and Seattle are 2nd tier, and Boston, DC, Dallas, and Atlanta are 3rd. Could you give us a little rationale?

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My List, tiers also in order.

Tier 1

New York City

Chicago

Los Angeles

Tier 2

Toronto

Seattle

San Fransico

Philadelphia

Detroit

Tier 3

Boston

Houston

Atlanta

Montreal

Washington

ect

This list is probably the strangest one I've seen.

Seattle, Detroit and Philly in Tier 2 over Boston and DC????

I think Tier 2 cities are higher profile, they have something special, culturally within the country and economically too. I think there should be 2 levels within Tier 2 as there are quite a few cities in this category.

Tier 1

NYC

Chicago

L.A.

Toronto

Tier 2A

SanFrancisco

DC

Boston

Montreal

Tier 2B

Miami

Seattle

Atlanta

Houston

Dallas

Philly

Detroit

Tier 3

Denver

Minneapolis? (Not sure, since I haven't been)

San Diego

Cincinnati

St. Louis

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My List; this is how I see things

Tier 1:

New York City (NYC stands out on its own - however)

Chicago

Los Angeles

Toronto

Tier 2:

Montreal

San Francisco

DC-Baltimore

Boston

Philadelphia

Tier 3:

Atlanta

Vancouver

Seattle

Detroit

Houston

Dallas

Miami

Phoenix

Minneapolis

San Diego

Cleveland

Denver

Portland

Tampa

All other cities are variously ranked below this general list.

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ChunkyMonkey,

What's up with your tier 1, tier 2A, tier 2B and your "Minneapolis? (Not sure, since I haven't been)" rankings? If you have been to Minneapolis, then what? That's no way to rank these cities.

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I happen to believe that Toronto is easily underestimated by Americans because of the different census standards.

torontomap.gif

The Toronto CMA includes only the city, and immediate burbs like Markham, Vaughn, Brampton, and Mississauga.

Yet it doesn't include other cities like Oshawa (300,000 people) and doesn't include Hamilton (700,000 people).

If it were an American CMSA - it'd include everything from Niagra Falls to Oshawa and be a CMSA of 7 million people.

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Also - Toronto is the undisputed hub of Canada; and the Toronto region is growing at a rate of 1.5 million every 10 years.

New York is the hub of the USA - Toronto is the hub of Canada.

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I think most people have seen enough about Canada to believe Toronto is a bona fide big city. Its 7 million is like 7 million in DC/Baltimore or Boston/Providence or SF bay. The problem is it is big and imortant to Canada and mayb to some degree the world. IMO it is a medium sized city dominating a small country population wise. It will be awhile, if ever, before it is widely accepted as being more significant than DC, SF and a bunch of inernational cities like SP Brazil, Mexico City, even BA Argentina, not to mention european and Asian cities.

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I know Toronto has alot of hi-rises which would make it popular on a skyscraper forum, but I don't see it being as important as NYC, LA or Chicago. Economically and population wise it doesn't even equal Boston or Washington. Though it does have that horrendous murder rate. They didn't mention that in "Bowling for Columbine" ;)

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I just don't see Toronto as being as important as New York, L.A., or Chicago. It's not important enough on the global scale. It is a major Canadian city, no doubt, but it will take time before it is widely accepted as an international city.

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Toronto is already accepted as a more important centre of commerce then San Fran or Boston due to its status as the largest city of Canada. Boston is always going to be in a shadow behind New York - as is San Francisco.

Of course I'm talking about outside the USA... People within the US itself are always going to view things differently. Just like someone in any other given country will feel more pride toward their cities, generally speaking.

There are three cities in the USA which are larger then Toronto that are clearly above Toronto - Chicago, New York, Los Angeles.

The rest aren't.

As far as economic data - Toronto's markets are many times more rich and trade with far more power then Mexico City; but that doesn't make Mexico City a smaller city (obviously). So I don't think the fact that a smaller urban region like Dallas can even remotely compete - even if its economic numbers are high. I like to think in relative and realistic terms. Just because numbers on a paper in a US statistics office make a city sound better does not make things absolute. If that were the case, you could say Dallas is more impressive then Toronto. Yet Dallas is so ... small. The downtown area and Turtle Creek are about the only urban areas.

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The fact that the economic output of Toronto doesn't even rank in the top 10 urban centers in North America is irrelevant? :rolleyes: C'mon this isn't SSP

EDIT ...and that the government manipulated the stats to make Canada look bad?

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LOL

I'm not going to even begin to get into a technicalities fight - that is why I quit going to SSP.

However, the fact that Toronto is home to Canada's main market exchanges and its stock trades serve the entire nation - it makes the GMP argument a bit silly overall. Toronto's economic might in GMP may be lower then Boston (I forget); but its still more important economically because of the stock exchanges and etc. Pile on top of that differences in exchange rates as well... It gets very complex.

Again - not worth arguing really.

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I know Toronto has alot of hi-rises which would make it popular on a skyscraper forum, but I don't see it being as important as NYC, LA or Chicago. Economically and population wise it doesn't even equal Boston or Washington. Though it does have that horrendous murder rate. They didn't mention that in "Bowling for Columbine" ;)

I'll assume that part about the horrendous murder rate was sarcasm as well.

To me, cities like NY, Chicago, LA, and maybe even WashDC are on their own level. Maybe Mexico City should be up there too.

Next comes a tier in which cities like San Fran and Toronto are at the top of. Population and economy only tell part of the story (and even still economic figures don't always tell the whole truth).

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I'll assume that part about the horrendous murder rate was sarcasm as well.

Yes because it is ironic that Toronto has more murders than Boston because it is well known how safe Canada is. If Boston had a population that proportional to its Metro was the same as Toronto than Boston may have more. Even more ironic is that a city of that size would consider 60 bad.

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