A chart from the McKinsey Global Institute looks at what cities were most economically powerful, in terms of real GDP, in 1978, and what cities were most powerful in 2010. And Atlanta went up five spots from fifteenth place to tenth! Thanks, Olympics!
On the left are the 1978 rankings; on the right, the 2010 rankings. The teal and red lines indicate significant rises and drops in a city's rank over the past thirty years. New York, L.A., and Chi-Town are still the three cities to beat. But everyone else jumps around, with such cities as New Orleans and Indianapolis completely falling off the top-thirty list, while cities like Orlando and Sacramento finally join it.
Jordan Weissmann at the Atlantic lays out some of the big trends that the chart reveals, mainly the shift from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt (go, South!), the enduring power of finance, and the move to the West. Now, if only we could ramp up Atlanta's financial power (and possibly move the city a few miles west), we might break into the top five in 2040.