Directorate for Public Governance

Making Cities Work for All

Data and Actions for Inclusive Growth

Published on October 13, 2016

Also available in: Korean

Cities are places where opportunities for prosperity coexist with stark inequalities between the richest and the poorest. Cities produce and attract highly educated workers and innovative employers. It is usually easier in cities than in other parts of the country for individuals to climb up the income, education or jobs ladder. But cities, especially the largest ones, also concentrate inequalities, both in income and in other well-being aspects,  that remain remarkably high in many OECD economies. Access to opportunities seems stalled for many low-income urban residents, who often live in distressed neighbourhoods.  This report provides ground-breaking, internationally comparable data on economic growth, inequalities and well-being at the city level in OECD countries. It provides empirical evidence on how cities are diverging from, or converging with, other parts of the country, and of the extent of inequality within cities. Finally, it proposes a framework for action, to help national and local governments reorient policies towards more inclusive growth in cities – a new approach to growth that ensures that no part of society is left behind.


Foreword and acknowledgments
Executive summary
Cities as laboratories for inclusive growth
Measuring well-being and inclusiveness in cities
A three-dimensional measure of inclusive growth in regions
Together or separated? The geography of inequality in cities
Policies and partnerships for inclusive growth in cities: A framework for action
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Preventing cities from becoming inequality traps

  • Improve access to education, with a particular focus on disadvantaged groups and increased investment in early childhood education. Establish vocational education and training programmes that match local needs.

  • Invest in adult skills training and entrepreneurship, and encourage job creation in locally relevant industries.

  • Better target housing allowances to make access to housing fairer and promote mixed-income neighbourhoods. Reduce regulatory barriers to homebuilding.

  • Co-ordinate investment for urban housing and transport, and ensure that national and local policies for urban development support, rather than contradict, each other.

  • Provide easier access to public services such as healthcare and develop urban regeneration strategies across the board.

Policy highlights



Press release



key graphs




un habitat iii 

This report contributes to an unprecedented global political commitment to make cities more sustainable, inclusive and resilient through the implementation of the New Urban Agenda of Habitat III (Quito, Ecuador - October 2016). Through Making Cities Work for All, the OECD stands ready to help decision makers adopt policies that reinforce each other and give a voice to all – so that cities become a better place for current and future generations to fulfil their potential.


sustainable development goals

Local governments are also central to solving global challenges ranging from climate change to violent extremism, food insecurity and refugee resettlement. Global commitments such the Sustainable Development Goals provide major opportunities for cities to achieve meaningful change through their implementation.


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