Regional Development

Regional Statistics and Indicators






Ongoing Projects


Research Papers



Statistical Databases






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The OECD Regional Database provides a unique set of comparable statistics and indicators on about 2 000 regions in 36 OECD countries, plus China, Colombia, India, Peru, the Russian Federation, South Africa and Tunisia.  It currently encompasses yearly time series for around 40 indicators of demography, economic accounts, labour market, social and innovation themes in the OECD member countries and other economies.

What is a region? See Territorial Grid.

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The OECD Metropolitan Database provides a set of economic, environmental, social, labour market and demographic estimated indicatos on the 649 OECD metropolitan areas (functional urban areas with 250 000 or more inhabitants).

What is a Metropolitan area? See the definition of Functional urban Areas in OECD Countries.


Interactive Tools


Measuring SDG web tool

Measuring the distance to SDGs in regions and Cities

With its more than 100 indicators, this OECD tool measures the distance towards the SDGs in more than 600 regions and 600 cities of OECD and partner countries.



Cities in the World Tool

The Cities in the World tool shows indicators for all cities and metropolitan areas in the world with at least 50 thousand inhabitants. You can view (and download) the boundaires of metropolitan areas and see indicators on population and built-up areas over time.

Read the Policy Highlights



The Regional Well-being web tool allows you to measure well-being in your region and compare it with 402 other OECD regions based on nine topics central to the quality of our lives.



Use the Metro eXplorer web tool to compare demographic trends, economic, social and environmental performance 



  ‌oecd regions and cities at a glance 2018  


This report looks at how regions and cities across the OECD are progressing towards stronger economies, higher quality of life for their citizens and more inclusive societies. This edition presents regional and metropolitan updates for more than 40 indicators to assess disparities within countries and their evolution since the turn of the new millennium.
More about the report...

The OECD Regions  and Cities at a Glance series compares major regional patterns and trends across OECD countries and diffuses the statistical tools elaborated by the Working Party on Territorial Indicators for the analysis of regional economies.

Previous editions:  2005 Edition 2007 Edition | 2009 Edition | 2011 Edition |  2013 Edition | 2016 Edition


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See our country profiles.



This report provides an assessment of spatial inequalities and segregation in cities and metropolitan areas from multiple perspectives. The chapters in the report focus on a subset of OECD countries and non-member economies, and provide new insights on cross-cutting issues for city neighbourhooods, such as the patterns of segregation across income groups, migrant concentration and diversity across cities of different sizes, the role of public transport accessibility in widening intra-city inequalities, and the expected path dependency on outcomes related to segregation. The report also discusses methodological alternatives for measuring different dimensions of inequality and segregation across cities, and highlights the role of public policies in bridging urban divides and the relevance of the scale of analysis in order to make sound international comparisons.
More about the report...


The Geography of Firm Dynamics provides methods and data to measure and analyse business demography across OECD regions. It first discusses the methodological challenges of measuring consistently the creation and destruction of businesses at the subnational scale and from an international perspective. Second, it presents a novel database that not only makes such comparison possible but also provides the basis for an analysis of the major trends in business dynamics across regions. The report identifies regional factors that are associated with entrepreneurship and also examines the impact of business creation on regional employment. The Geography of Firm Dynamics provides a tool for national and local policy makers to design strategies for healthier business environments that are tailored to the specific characteristics of each region, thereby boosting prosperity. More about the report...





 Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees

Working Together for Local Integration of Migrants and Refugees (2018)

This report describes what it takes to formulate a place-based approach to integration of migrants through concerted efforts across levels of government as well as between state and non-state actors. It draws on both quantitative evidence, from a statistical database, and qualitative evidence from a survey of 72 cities. It draws on both quantitative evidence, from a statistical database, and qualitative evidence from a survey of 72 cities. The report also presents a 12-point checklist, a tool that any city or region – in Europe, the OECD or beyond – can use to work across levels of government and with other local actors in their efforts to promote more effective integration of migrants.


Productivity and Jobs in a Globalised World: (How) Can All Regions Benefit? (2018)

This report looks at how regional policies can support productivity growth and jobs. It looks at the role of the tradable sector as a driver of productivity growth and the possible risks of a this sector. It considers how regions integrate global value chains and highlights the role of regional and policy links in fostering productivity growth and job creation

Making Cities Work for All Making Cities Work for All: Data and Actions for Inclusive Growth (2016)

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.

 Well-being in Danish Cities

 Well-being in Danish Cities (2016)

This report provides a comprehensive picture of well-being in the major Danish cities, by looking at a wide range of dimensions that shape people’s lives. It contains both objective and subjective indicators meant to help policy makers, citizens and other stakeholders to better understand living conditions not only among cities but also among the different neighbourhoods within cities. This information can help policy makers build a development strategy based on well-being metrics, and choose the courses of action that will make the most difference in people’s lives.


Well-being in Mexican states

Measuring Well-being in Mexican States (2015)

The report provides a comprehensive picture on the territorial differences in many well-being dimensions across the 31 Mexican states and the Federal District. It represents a sound base for state and local policy makers, political leaders and citizens to better understand people’s living conditions, gauge progress in various aspects of economy and society and use these indicators to improve the design and implementation of policies. It is a part of the “How’s Life in Your Region?” work produced by the OECD Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate at the behest of the Regional Development Policy Committee.

 Hows Life in Your Region?

How's Life in Your Region: Measuring Regional and Local Well-being for Policy Making (2014)

This report paints a comprehensive picture of well-being in the 362 OECD regions, by looking at some of the most important aspects that shape people’s lives: jobs, income, housing, education, health, access to services, environment, safety and civic engagement. The report finds that the disparities in material conditions and quality of life are often greater among regions within the same country than they are across different countries. It provides a common framework for measuring well-being at the regional level and guidance for all levels of government in using well-being measures to better target policies at the specific needs of different communities drawing from a variety of practical experiences from OECD regions and cities.

An interactive web-based tool ( allows to compare performance across regions in OECD countries and monitoring improvements over time.

Rural-Urban Partnerships: An Integrated Approach to to Economic Development (2013)

This report provides a framework to understand the changing relationships between urban and rural areas. It is focused on one approach that can enhance and better manage rural-urban relationships – the use of rural-urban partnerships. Specifically, it documents the characteristics of these partnerships and the factors that can hinder as well as enable rural-urban co-operation. Different governance approaches to manage rural-urban relationships are identified and discussed. Finally, recommendations are provided to help national, regional and local policy makers to build effective and sustainable rural-urban partnerships for better economic development.

redefining urban

Redefining "Urban": A New Way to Measure Metropolitan Areas (2012)

This report compares urbanisation trends in OECD countries on the basis of a newly defined OECD methodology which enables cross-country comparison of the socio-econimic and environmental performance of metropolitan areas in OECD countries. The methodology is presented and results from its application to 27 OECD countries are discussed together with policy implication both on national growth and governance of cities. The report also includes three original papers that present the urbanisation dynamics and prospects in China and South Africa and the governance challenges resulting from the new policy agenda on cities in the United Kingdom.

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The Working Party on Territorial Indicators


The Working Party on Territorial Indicators brings together international experts from all OECD countries to carry out statistical work on the measurement of regional economies. It meets twice per year in Paris at the OECD Headquarters.

Workshops organised by the WPTI include:




Workshop on Modernising Statistical Systems

5 November 2018, Paris

Representatives from National Statistical Offices and other agencies responsible for statistics or regional development discussed the role of the modernisation of statistical systems for better evidence on regions and cities. The discussions took place in a workshop held at the OECD Headquarters on 5 November 2018, within the activities of the OECD Working Party on Territorial Indicators. The workshop focused on four pathfinder themes of relevance within the field of regional development policy, such as access to services, housing statistics, functional areas, and business clusters.

See the workshop page.


Ongoing Projects

Cities of the World

Subnational Indicators for Tunisia

A Territorial Approach to SDGs

With over half the world's population now living in urban areas, defining a cities and metropolitan areas is critical in order to reflect the reality of where people live and work, as well as the connections between cities and surrounding areas.

harmonised definition of cities has been developed by the OECD, in collaboration with the EU. This definition is applied to 34 OECD countries and identifies over 1,100 functional urban areas of different sizes and that can extend across administrative boundaries. 

The 649 metropolitan areas refer to the functional urban areas with population above 250 000. 

The OECD work enables comparison across a range of indicators in metropolitan areas. This video presents key facts on metropolitan areas in OECD countries and a demonstration of how to use the Metro eXplorer database.

The OECD is now extending the concept of functional urban areas at the global level. See the methodological paper and results


 Research Papers

► The short-run relationship between inequality and growth: evidence fro OECD regions during the Great Recession (2018) (Working Paper version, 2014)

► The integration of migrants in OECD regions: A first assessment, OECD Regional Development Working Papers (2018)

► Living Near to Attractive Nature? A Well-Being Indicator for Ranking Dutch, Danish, and German Functional urban Areas (2017)

► Urban Spatial Structure in OECD Cities. Is Urban population decentralising or clustering? (2017) (Working Paper version, 2015)

► Functional Urban Areas in Colombia (2016)

► Income Levels And Inequality in Metropolitan Areas (2016)

► Where are the highest living standards? Measuring well-being and inclusiveness in OECD regions (2018) (Working Paper version, 2016)

► Regional Disparities In Access To Health Care (2016)

► Building subjective well-being indicators at the subnational level (2016)

► City size distribution across the OECD: Does the definition of cities matter? (2016) (Working Paper version, 2013)

► Breathing the Same Air? Measuring Air Pollution in Cities and Regions

► Definition of functional urban areas for the OECD metropolitan database

► Urban-to-Rural population growth linkages: evidence from OECD regions (2016) (Working paper version 2013)

► OECD Extended Regional Typology: The Economic Performance of Remote Rural Regions (3.68MB)

► OECD Regional Typology - February 2010 update (1.93MB)

► A web-enabled geovisual analytics tool applied to OECD regional data (1.26MB)



For more information please contact Paolo Veneri, Email: [email protected] or [email protected] 



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