16 San Jose

PopulationMetro: 1,760,000
A great city blooms in America’s tech utopia.

San Francisco may get the tourists and headlines, but the money’s in San Jose. In fact, Silicon Valley is #4 for Prosperity in our ranking. It is also, not surprisingly, #1 on the planet in our People category—an enviably diverse mix of foreign-born residents and educated populace.

Few cities on the planet boast San Jose’s head-office recruitment firepower, where the city is not only a destination for the global engineering elite but is often the ultimate destination. Google or Facebook may create 500-person offices in, say, Toronto, but those are the minor-league teams. The ‘big show’ is in Silicon Valley.

It’s hardly a surprise, then, that San Jose is the second-most educated in the world, second to only Washington, D.C. (yes, still).

The city’s universities, Stanford and Cal, are performance drivers all on their own. Their symbiotic integration with the tech offices in the city means the schools have access to funding and innovation like few other institutions. This, of course, is in addition to what’s widely considered to be the home of the highest concentration of venture capital in the world.

Place 38
Product 26
Programming 3
People 100
Prosperity 94
Promotion 5

Given the optimal conditions of a lauded, coveted school and the on-ramp it provides to jobs in the same city, San Jose also ranks high for foreign-born residents, at #14 globally. Many are actively; others comere apt to
But the old economies of immigration still apply, even in a place that always thinks future-first. All those business hotels still need staff, after all, and the housing shortage will always mean there’s a place for construction workers who’ve never written a line of code.

Silicon Valley

But it’s not like San Jose is new to welcoming the world. As California’s oldest Spanish civilian settlement, the city has many reminders of its fascinating, open past—from 140-year-old Chinese temples to the newly Michelin-starred Adega, owned by a wine-importing family from Portugal and boasting one of the largest lists of Portuguese wines outside the Old Country. And don’t leave town without some authentic Mexican, which you’ll find at San Pedro Square’s Olla Cocina, along with their locally lauded watermelon margaritas.