Expert Group on City Prosperity Index


Cities and towns are engines of growth that have facilitated the evolution of knowledge, culture and traditions, as well as of industry and commerce. More than half of the world's population lives in cities, which are expected to absorb 95 per cent of the urban growth in the next two decades, and by 2030, will be home to almost 4 billion people, or 80 per cent of the world's urban population. The analysis of the essential conditions and elements required for a city to thrive or be described as prosperous is imperative.

City Prosperity Index (CPI) is a composite index used to measure the overall achievements in a city in six categories/dimensions that are related to how cities create and distribute socio-economic benefits or prosperity. The CPI as an aggregate achievement in the six dimensions underscores the fact that urban

Point of contact

Robert P Ndugwa
Head, Data and Statistics Section, Research and Capacity Development Branch
United Nations Human Settlements Programme
P.O.Box 30030, GPO Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Tel +254 20 762 3342, Mob + 254 720 492021

prosperity, wellbeing and human development are much more than economic achievements or growth and that they are multidimensional concepts that can only be measured more accurately using a composite index. The index provides a single measure that allows for greater ease of comparison, serves as a monitoring and diagnostic tool for identifying which urban areas are performing well or poorly in terms of creating and distributing the benefits of prosperity, identifying which component or dimension is performing well or poorly in terms of contribution to the progress of prosperity of the city and identifying which specific area(s) requires interventions measures.

UN-Habitat has promoted CPI as a flexible monitoring framework that allows for the integration of indicators critical to the development and monitoring of urban transformation in selected cities across many countries see (

The adoption of the CPI as a framework for monitoring urban transformation in selected cities and municipalities reduces overload and duplication in national monitoring and reporting efforts. It also facilitates a greater convergence in the monitoring of national urban programmes, policies and the SDGs. The City Prosperity Index measurement tracks (dimensions) include;

  • Productivity: The productivity dimension measures the average achievements of the cities in terms of creating wealth and how it's shared, or cities contribution to economic growth and development, generation of income, provision of decent jobs and equal opportunities for all.
  • Infrastructure Development: The Infrastructure dimension measures the average achievement of the city in providing adequate infrastructure for accessing clean water, sanitation, good roads, and information and communication technology - in order to improve living standards and enhance productivity, mobility and connectivity.
  • Quality of Life: The quality of life dimension measures the cities' average achievement in ensuring general wellbeing and satisfaction of the citizens.
  • Equity and Social Inclusion: The Equity and Social inclusion dimension measures the cities' average achievements in ensuring equitable (re)distribution of the benefits of prosperity, reduces poverty and the incidence of slums, protects the rights of minority and vulnerable groups, enhances gender equality, and ensures equal participation in the social, economic, political and cultural spheres
  • Environmental Sustainability: The Environmental Sustainability dimension measures the average achievement of the cities in ensuring the protection of the urban environment and its natural assets. This should be done simultaneously while ensuring growth, pursuing energy efficiency, reducing pressure on surrounding land and natural resources and reducing environmental losses through creative and environment-enhancing solutions.
  • Urban Governance and Legislation: The Urban Governance and Legislation dimension has the purpose of demonstrating the role of good urban governance in catalysing local action towards prosperity, including the capacity to regulate the urbanization process.

By adopting the CPI, cities, municipalities and countries will be able to identify urban prosperity opportunities and challenges in a way that allows the national government along with local authorities to capitalize on opportunities for future development and prevent potential setbacks.

Establishing a Group on City Prosperity Index

The CPI serves as a baseline setting, a decision-making tool, a policy dialogue and a monitoring instrument. The Index is current and evolving and uses different tools to develop products which measure the different aspects of urbanization of a city. But since it's development by UN-Habitat in 2012, many additional indicators have been integrated, but no systematic review of the entire methodology of CPI has been undertaken yet. In addition, with a recent CEB decision to harmonize the urban data and policies guiding urban development as part of the UN-system wide strategy for sustainable urban development, it is imperative that a comprehensive review of the CPI methodology is undertaken through an expert group meeting. To that end, the group was established in 2018, and formally constituted in 2019 following a UN Statistical commission request.

Mandate and TORs

The group will operate for a period of 5 years initially with a main mandate of;

  • Reviewing the current CPI methodology and tool and ensure its balance of indicators selection across dimensions of urban formations. This includes a review and repackaging of the current weighting scheme used for the CPI estimations
  • Organize a series of consultative meetings (3) with countries in the various regions where consensus will be sought and built on the entire CPI methodology and constituent indicators and weighting scheme.
  • Constitute regional support teams to undertake country assessments and advisory missions to support countries to integrate the CPI in urban monitoring mechanisms.
  • Organize a global consultative forum to share best practices and discuss existing challenges in roll-out and deployment.
  • Produce global methodological guides and support their dissemination across all cities and regions.

Current chair and members of the expert group:

The current chairperson of the group is UN-Habitat.

National Statistical office: Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Tunisia, Botswana, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Malawi, South Africa, Namibia, Vietnam, China, Kuwait, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Russia, etc.

Other private sector partners: FIABCI, EC, GPSDD, ESRI, JIPS, IDMC, HelpAge, etc.


Academia: Warwick University, Australia National University,


The first global meeting is planned for the first week of December. This meeting will also work on the first report that will be prepared for sharing during the next UN Statistical commission in March 2020.

Reports to the Commission

There are no reports so far to the commission. The first major report is expected in 2021.

Last updated 15 November 2019