Recent shocks to gas and energy supply and widespread increases in costs of living are challenging people’s living standards in nearly all places in the OECD area. These shocks have put further pressure on cities and regions around the world, which, in the last few years, have been facing global megatrends and a global pandemic. Ageing, climate change and digital transformation, among others, were already challenging our economies and societies when the COVID-19 pandemic started at the beginning of 2020. All these developments have had unequal consequences within countries and the need to cope with them is increasing the demand for geographically granular evidence, indicators and statistics to support policy makers at all levels of government.

In this respect, OECD Regions and Cities at a Glance provides a comprehensive picture of past successes and likely challenges that regions and cities in OECD members and partner countries will face in their efforts to build stronger, more sustainable and more resilient economies. By relying on a combination of traditional and more innovative data sources, it describes the evolving nature of spatial disparities within countries from a multidimensional perspective.

The 2022 edition of OECD Regions and Cities at a Glance provides several new features. For example, it highlights how living expenses vary across cities and regions in terms of housing costs and energy needs (i.e. heating and cooling spaces), among others. The report also provides evidence of how regions and cities are adapting differently to a post-pandemic world, including in terms of the unequal uptake of remote working, the digital skills demanded in regional labour markets and the changing geography of housing demand. Other new features of this edition include measures of digital infrastructure quality across space, new subnational estimates of poverty rates, as well as a full set of subnational climate indicators.

The first chapter summarises how the economic impact of the pandemic spread across space and describes the regional patterns of the recovery with the most up-to-date available statistics. The chapter also includes subnational indicators on tourism, cultural industries and integration in global markets, which are new to this edition.

Another chapter covers the subnational dimension of climate change through a large set of new indicators on the environmental transition of regions and cities, including energy, industry, agriculture, transport and exposure to extreme climate events such as floods and wildfires. The indicators show that progress towards the goal of net-zero emissions is uneven between and within countries, with some regions still heavily relying on carbon-intensive energy sources like coal.

The final two chapters of the report include new insights on long-term demographic trends across regions, including regional population projections for a large number of OECD countries. One of these chapters presents recent trends of ageing, urbanisation and international migration. The other chapter focuses on housing affordability, health outcomes, digital infrastructure and inequality in income and services that affect the quality of life in OECD regions.

Taken together, the report provides a comprehensive and unique tool for decision makers at all levels of government who aim to account for specific assets and challenges of regions and cities when designing policy.

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