But their prime positions could be up for contention as progress across Europe, Asia and the Middle East shows signs of disrupting the status quo.
That's the conclusion of the 2019 Global Cities Report from management consulting company A.T. Kearney, which ranks the world's major cities on their attractiveness for businesses and employees.
For the tenth year in a row, New York (1st), London (2nd) and Paris (3rd) retained their titles as the world's three most competitive cities based on a variety of factors including business activity and culture, human capital, political engagement and information exchange.
New York ranked especially highly for business activity and human capital, while Paris performed well for information exchange and London for culture.
However, the near-term picture may look quite different, according to the report, which also ranks cities on their outlook.
A.T. Kearney's 2019 "Global Cities Outlook" reveals which cities are primed to be the next generation of global hubs based on four metrics: personal well-being, economics, innovation and government.
London stole pole position this year, climbing two places from 2018 thanks to steady underlying performance even amid Brexit woes.
San Francisco, last year's winner, meanwhile, dropped to third position as challenger cities outpaced the tech hub in terms of personal well-being and foreign investment.
Singapore rounded out the top three in second place, climbing three spots since 2018.
Though Beijing was the only Chinese city to make the top 10 of the Global Cities Index, the report made special note of the progress of China and the Middle East thanks in part to improved economic performance.
Chinese cities, in particular, the report noted, have been outpacing those in other regions over recent years. In the past decade, top Chinese cities grew three times faster than their U.S. counterparts.
To be included in the top rankings, however, the country needs to transition toward a "citizen-centric development strategy," the report said.
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