Aggregate Ranking for 100 Largest Russian Cities (Top – 100)

Ranking  is developed in cooperation with The Union of Architects of Russia

Rating position Year Federal subject, which includes the city Population (thousands of people), according to 2010 Census Result, points
1 Surgut Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug – Yugra 306,7 76,23
2 Tyumen Tyumen Oblast 581,8 61,66
3 Krasnodar Krasnodar Krai 744,9 60,02
4 Nizhnevartovsk Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug – Yugra 251,9 59,17
5 Saint-Petersburg 4848,7 58,56
6 Ufa Republic of Bashkortostan 1062,3 56,93
7 Stary Oskol Belgorod Oblast 221,1 55,55
8 Novosibirsk Novosibirsk oblast 1473,7 54,94
9 Moscow 11514,3 54,55
10 Murmansk Murmansk oblast 307,7 54,53
11 Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Sakhalin Oblast 181,7 54,06
12 Krasnoyarsk Krasnoyarsk Krai 973,9 54,02
13 Grozny Chechen Republic 271,6 53,93
14 Kazan Republic of Tatarstan 1143,6 53,52
15 Angarsk Irkutsk Oblast 233,7 53,49
16 Magnitogorsk Chelyabinsk Oblast 408,4 53,37
17 Voronezh Voronezh Oblast 890,0 53,28
18 Cherepovets Vologda Oblast 312,3 53,16
19 Rostov-on-Don Rostov Oblast 1089,9 53,16
20 Sterlitamak Republic of Bashkortostan 273,4 51,54
21 Sochi Krasnodar Krai 343,3 51,52
22 Lipetsk Oblast Lipetsk Oblast 508,1 50,98
23 Volgodonsk Rostov Oblast 170,6 50,94
24 Belgorod Belgorod oblast 356,4 50,92
25 Yekaterinburg Sverdlov Oblast 1350,1 50,91
26 Omsk Omsk Oblast 1154,0 50,62
27 Bratsk Irkutsk Oblast 246,3 50,44
28 Kaliningrad Kaliningrad Oblast 431,5 50,42
29 Yaroslavl Yaroslavl Oblast 591,5 50,03
30 Kemerovo Kemerovo Oblast 532,9 49,96
31 Pskov Pskov Oblast 203,3 49,41
32 Balakovo Saratov Oblast 199,6 49,34
33 Chelyabinsk Chelyabinsk Oblast 1130,3 49,32
34 Volgograd Volgograd Oblast 1021,2 49,28
35 Samara Samara Oblast 1164,9 49,06
36 Kirov Kirov Oblast 473,7 48,85
37 Ryazan Ryazan Oblast 525,1 48,77
38 Tver Tver Oblast 403,7 48,74
39 Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Kamchatka Krai 179,5 48,61
40 Astrakhan Astrakhan Oblast 520,7 48,60
41 Nizhnekamsk Republic of Tatarstan 234,1 48,52
42 Stavropol Stavropol Krai 398,3 48,44
43 Khabarovsk Khabarovsk Krai 577,7 48,40
44 Penza Penza Oblast 517,1 48,34
45 Cheboksary Chuvash Republic 453,6 48,30
46 Orel Orel Oblast 317,9 48,21
47 Ivanovo Ivanovo Oblast 409,3 48,17
48 Nizhny Novgorod Nizhny Novgorod Oblast 1250,6 48,10
49 Veliky Novgorod Novgorod Oblast 218,7 47,92
50 Irkutsk Irkutsk Oblast 587,2 47,82
51 Perm Perm Krai 991,5 47,77
52 Orenburg Orenburg Oblast 547,0 47,58
53 Arkhangelsk Arkhangelsk Oblast 348,7 47,50
54 Kurgan Kurgan Oblast 333,6 47,31
55 Kamensk-Uralsky Sverdlov Oblast 179,0 47,16
56 Vologda Vologda Oblast 301,6 47,14
57 Prokopyevsk Kemerovo Oblast 210,2 47,10
58 Saratov Saratov Oblast 837,8 47,04
59 Smolensk Smolensk Oblast 326,9 46,97
60 Tolyatti Samara Ovlast 719,5 46,96
61 Novokuznetsk Kemerovo Oblast 547,9 46,85
62 Kursk Kursk Oblast 414,6 46,82
63 Tula Tula Oblast 501,1 46,66
64 Volzhsky Volgograd Oblast 314,4 46,57
65 Tomsk Tomsk Oblast 522,9 46,55
66 Izhevsk Udmurt Republic 628,1 46,52
67 Syktyvkar Komi Republic 235,0 46,46
68 Rybinsk Yaroslavl Oblast 200,8 46,18
69 Dzerzhinsk Nizhny Novgorod Oblast 240,8 45,94
70 Vladimir Vladimir Oblast 345,6 45,80
71 Kostroma Kostroma Oblast 268,6 45,57
72 Blagoveshchensk Amur Oblast 214,4 45,46
73 Novorossiysk Krasnodar Krai 241,8 45,40
74 Tambov Tambov Oblast 280,5 45,35
75 Chita Zabaykalsky Krai 323,9 45,24
76 Ulyanovsk Ulyanovsk Oblast 613,8 45,17
77 Taganrog Rostov Oblast 257,7 45,12
78 Petrozavodsk Republic of Karelia 263,5 45,09
79 Bryansk Bryansk Oblast 415,6 44,88
80 Saransk Republic of Mordovia 297,4 44,85
81 Orsk Orenburg Oblast 239,8 44,62
82 Yoshkar-Ola Mari El Republic 248,7 44,44
83 Ulan-Ude Republic of Buryatia 404,4 44,38
84 Vladikavkaz Republic of North Ossetia–Alania 311,6 44,23
85 Nalchik Kabardino-Balkar Republic 240,1 44,01
86 Kaluga Kaluga Oblast 325,2 43,96
87 Severodvinsk Arkhangelsk Oblast 192,3 43,74
88 Shakhty Rostov Oblast 240,1 43,47
89 Barnaul Altai Krai 612,1 43,32
90 Yakutsk Sakha (Yakutia) Republic 269,5 43,27
91 Komsomolsk-on-Amur Khabarovsk Krai 263,9 43,10
92 Engels Saratov Oblast 202,4 43,07
93 Syzran Samara Oblast 178,7 42,98
94 Nizhny Tagil Sverdlovsk Oblast 361,9 42,95
95 Armavir Krasnodar Krai 188,9 42,31
96 Zlatoust Chelyabinsk Oblast 189,4 42,15
97 Naberezhnye Chelny Republic of Tatarstan 513,2 40,97
98 Biysk Altai Krai 210,0 39,76
99 Vladivostok Primorsky Krai 592,1 38,97
100 Makhachkala Republic of Dagestan 578,0 38,81

Object and methodology of research

The aim of the ranking is to define the city which is the most favorable in terms of living from 2 points:

This Ranking is a first try to estimate the city as a good or a service for all dwellers. It also gives the possibility to estimate the efficiency of the city policy as focused on increasing citizen appeal.

The unique features of the ranking are as follows:

  1. Complexity – the ranking includes data describing (reflecting) all basic needs of citizens.
  2. Representativeness – ranking operates only with issues that are common for citizens of the time, such as: housing issues, security, transport, food expenses, housing, and public utilities expenses.
  3. Objectiveness – the ranking doesn’t use expert opinions, it operates only with shared statistics including census data (2010), real estate developers data, and common climatic and environmental assessments.

Methodology of the ranking:

This ranking includes the 100 largest Russian cities. Two groups of indicators were formed:

  1. Indicators of the level of the urban environment
  2. Cost of living in the city

Most of indicators used in the ranking are aggregated indicators – they are calculated on the base of 25 statistical factors. At first, cities were ranked by each particular indicator and afterwards the final  ranking was calculated.

Ranking data in the context of each of the 14 indicators are rated separately and are available in open sources. This allows one to clearly identify the “strong” and “weak” points of every city involved in the ranking.

There are 5 cities that have been excluded from the “Top-100″ ranking due to following reasons:

  1. The Moscow suburb cities of Balashiha, Khimki, Podolsk, and Korolev were excluded because of economic and territorial points that they are playing a role within Moscow districts. If they had not been excluded from the ranking, they might have been in some of the top 10 positions within the ranking.
  2. Norilsk was excluded due to the peculiarity of it’s climate, specifically, the social and business environment.

Expert comments regarding the results of the ranking:

The leading group cities (Top 20) can be de divided into three economic centers:

  1. There is a group of nine multifunctional regional capitals: Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, Krasnodar, Ufa, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Kazan, Voronezh, and Rostov-on-Don. Their leadership is caused by a comparatively high standard of living and a comparatively high quality of urban environment. These cities are more attractive for living in for medium to long term because of economic stability and available facilities.However, these leading cities match some smaller cities regarding the level of infrastructural development. It demonstrates a developmental gap between infrastructure, economy, and the needs of citizens. This gap will contribute to the loss of economic, technological, and social competitiveness.
  2. There is a group of large industrial cities that are important Russian export centers – primarily based on oil and the gas industry, petrochemical, and metallurgical industries. These three above-named industries provided the inclusion of the nine cities below into the leading group (Top-20). These cities are: Surgut, Tyumen, Nizhnevartovsk, Stary Oskol, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Angarsk, Magnitogorsk, Cherepovets, and Sterlitamak.The leading position of the mentioned cities are determined by high standards of living and a developed service sector (compared to other large Russian cities) and a quite low tension in the sphere of city infrastructure. This is caused by the relative “youthfullness” of the cities and a low population (less than 350 000 citizens, with the exception of Magnitogorsk and Tyumen).It is clear that this prosperity is mostly due to successfully operating gigantic enterprises that were built back in soviet times, and mineral markets depending on the international business climate.Diversification of the named cities, in the case of tougher economic conditions, might lead to the collapse of high standards of living and, consequently, the collapse in desire to live in these cities among prospective dwellers.
  3. Special attention should be paid to Grozny and Murmansk, which recieved 13 and 10 positions correspondingly in the ranking. The Murmansk leadership is formed due to “accessible” housing infrastructure and high salaries (typical for northern regions). All of these factors lead to high possibility for buying housing. Moreover, the city has a good climate and relatively low workload of transport infrastructure.The reason that Grozny holds the top position is because the city was completely rebuilt during in the past 10 years. Thus, Grozny has well developed housing, transport, and public utility infrastructural systems, simultaneously with rather low costs of housing and rather low prices for basic consumer goods. Moreover, Grozny is characterized by a favorable climate and environment.

In regards to risks that Murmansk and Grozny might face, one should point out the risk that can be called “the effect of aging infrastructure”: both cities have recieved substantial investment in the past (Grozny – in 2000s, Murmansk – in 1970-1980s). So, currently Murmansk has almost reached the point where it has exhausted these past supplies. Grozny will reach this point in aproximately 10 years. Taking all of this into account, these cities should find new drivers of economic, social and technological development/renovation and not alow the real estate market to “overheat”. Otherwise, they will approach a downfall in living standards and increasing costs of living.

To summarize this information, ranking results demonstrate that in most cases, active involvement of the city into redistribution systems of financial flows from commodity rent is the fundamental factor of citizens’ welfare.

This kind of dependence is relevant for at least 14 cities from the Top-20 of the ranking. This situation has two risks:

  1. High dependence of the city on external factors like world oil and metallurgical market dynamics.
  2. Predominance of the financial effects of city living over qualitative effects.

Loss of financial drivers for the growth of the “top cities” will lead to a dramatic decrease in their residential attractiveness as compared to other Russian cities.

This risk is more or less typical for all Russian cities where there is no diversified economy or good infrastructural reserve. Moreover, the ranking shows the presence of a considerable group of Russian cities (Vladivostok, Naberezhnye Tchelny, Yakutsk, Orsk, Nizhny Tagil, Barnaul, Novorossiysk, Perm, Tomsk) where in spite of rather high investment activity or rather strong industrial or logistic potential, the tools for using economic advantages to improve quality or cost of living for citizens do not work efficiently. The situation described has had a negative effect on the position of the city in the ranking.

Plans for the ranking’s future development:

The methodology of the ranking is going to be improved in three ways:

Questions are welcome to:


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