Inclusive Growth ... in Cities

Cities and metropolitan areas have a crucial role in making inclusive growth happen. They are major generators of growth and economic opportunity, and key actors in many domains that matter for inclusive growth, including education, health care services, social protection, training and employment services, as well as housing, neighbourhood regeneration and transport.

However, rising inequalities, poor quality of services, fragmented labour markets, and non-inclusive institutions challenge the capacity of cities to grow inclusively – that is, to allow people both to contribute to, and share in, rising prosperity.

Inclusive Growth in Cities Campaign

We launched the Inclusive Growth in Cities campaign in March 2016 to increase awareness of rising inequalities, refocus the debate on concrete solutions, and empower local governments as leaders in the transition towards more inclusive growth.

Central to this campaign is the creation of a network of mayors to promote Inclusive Growth. The OECD is inviting mayors from around the world to become Inclusive Growth Champions, joining those who have already endorsed the New York Proposal for Inclusive Growth in Cities, to help shape a policy roadmap for inclusive growth in cities. Our next meeting will be held on 21 November 2016 in Paris, France. 

  The OECD Inclusive Growth in Cities Initiative launch called mayors from across the world to action.


What's New?

In June 2016, the Brookings Institute and the National League of Cities held an event on the rising inequality in cities and ways to address it. OECD Secretary-General Ángel Gurría and a cross-sectoral expert panel discussed how to implement inclusive growth strategies across the US. Watch the conversation with Secretary-General Gurría.


The 2016 OECD Forum focussed on productivity and inclusive growth, and included a session on inclusive citiesWatch the session.  


In June the OECD launched the OECD Regions at a Glance 2016, a periodical publication on how regions and cities contribute to national economic growth and well-being. This edition updates more than 40 region-by-region indicators to assess disparities within countries and their evolution over the past 15 years and covers all the OECD member countries and, where data are available, Brazil, People’s Republic of China, Colombia, India, Latvia, Lithuania, Peru, the Russian Federation and South Africa.

How does your region perform when it comes to education, environment, safety and other topics important to your well-being? This interactive site allows you to measure well-being in your region and compare it with 395 other OECD regions based on eleven topics central to the quality of our lives.


An insight into our Inclusive Growth in Cities campaign, featuring founding Champion Mayors

What we know about inequalities in cities

  • In many OECD countries, urban income inequality has risen faster than overall income inequality, due to skills’ distribution and the capturing of top earners.


  • Cities’ contributions to wealth and inclusion vary substantially within and across countries. Metro areas in Italy and Korea accounted for more than 80% of job creation between 2000 and 2014, compared to less than 30% in Switzerland and the Slovak Republic.  


  • Income inequality increases with city size. Metro areas with over 1.5 million people register the highest levels of Gini index for disposable household income. But inequality goes beyond income. Multidimensional living standards – a composite measure of income, jobs, health and inequality – are on average higher in metro areas. 


  • City and regional governments are critical actors in the policy domains that matter for inclusive growth. Sub-national governments carry out around 40% of total public spending in the OECD, with 60% of this investment for economic affairs and education – key areas for inclusive growth.

Expanding the evidence base


This campaign benefits from ongoing OECD research on making inclusive growth happen in cities and regions, made possible with support from the Ford Foundation.


Data: Provide a set of internationally comparable indicators to measure societal progress and inclusiveness in cities and regions.


Evidence: Assess patterns of inclusive growth across OECD regions with a measure of living standards that accounts for a range of well-being outcomes and the distribution of progress across social groups.


Decision making: Analyse how cities are co-ordinating policies and engaging citizens and private stakeholders to foster inclusive growth.

Who are our Champion Mayors?


Champion Mayors are intended as a global “coalition of the willing” who commit to voice their support for more inclusive growth in their city, in their country and worldwide. To help shape the Campaign in the early stages, we are reaching out to leading mayors who are leading the fight against inequality in their city.


See a list of our Champion Mayors from around the world


The launch of the Inclusive Growth in Cities Campaign took place on 29 March 2016 in New York. A second event will be held in Paris on 21 November, following a proposal by Mayor Anne Hidalgo of Paris, the Founding Champion Mayor. We anticipate 1-2 annual meetings of Champion Mayors, which would ideally stem from proposals from the Champion Mayors themselves to host such an event.


Aside from the meetings of Champion Mayors, the Campaign will also establish a platform for exchange of best practices for inclusive growth in cities, for which we could liaise with a contact point for each city (other than the mayor). Through this platform, cities could share their efforts and experiences in policy fields to advance inclusive growth – such as, but not limited to, initiatives to boost affordable housing, improve transport accessibility, expand education and labour market opportunities, etc. The aim is to enable other cities to learn from these experiences.


The platform would be open to other Champion Mayors and key stakeholders, including the OECD, the Ford Foundation, and supporting institutions.


With the support of:

‌ Inclusive growth ford foundation logo



Logo of supporting institution for Inclusive Growth in Cities campaign ‌‌Logo of UCLG