Seoul and Toronto Achieve Top Rankings in Municipal E-Governance International Survey; Rutgers-Newark/Kent State Global E-Governance Survey Ranks Seoul #1

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(above) Average Score of Cities by Continent, 2005-2011

A global survey of city websites has identified Seoul, South Korea, as the top-ranked city in the performance of municipal e-governance. This research study was conducted jointly by the E-Governance Institute in the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University-Newark and the Department of Political Science at Kent State University.

The survey evaluated websites of municipalities worldwide in terms of privacy, usability, content, services, and citizen and social engagement, and ranked the cities on a global scale. Co-sponsored by the Public Technology Institute, the study listed the following cities among the top 5 in digital governance: Seoul, Toronto, Madrid, Prague, and Hong Kong.

Top 10 Cities in Digital Governance Worldwide

Ranking    City, Score
1               Seoul, 82.23
2               Toronto, 64.31
3               Madrid, 63.63
4               Prague, 61.72
5               Hong Kong, 60.81
6               New York, 60.49
7               Stockholm, 60.26
8               Bratislava, 56.74
9               London, 56.19
10             Shanghai, 55.49

Seoul retains its top ranking in municipal e-governance, similar to the 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009 survey results. As a direct result of this innovative use of e-governance, Seoul continues to provide its citizens with opportunities to participate in governmental processes, including well-organized and systematic opportunities to submit their ideas and suggestions on proposed policies via policy forums. This enables government administrators and elected officials to respond directly to citizen action when establishing public policies. Seoul also ranked first in the categories of usability, services, and citizen and social engagement.

The city of Toronto is ranked second overall, reflecting its significant effort to improve e-governance and provide an efficient, and effective government online. Toronto is also ranked first in content, third in usability, and fifth in services. Toronto enhanced the usability of its website and provided an accessible privacy policy, which improved its citizens’ level of confidence in interacting and transacting with the government online. In the third place is Madrid, which continually ranked in the top 10 positions since 2007. Prague ranked fourth overall and was also ranked among the top 5 cities in the previous survey. The website of Prague offers users online opportunities to provide their opinion and feedback to administrative departments and elected officials. This is followed by Hong Kong and New York in the fifth and sixth positions respectively.

Although governments across the world increasingly offer their services online, studies evaluating the performance of such online services (broadly referred to as “e-governance”) primarily focus on federal, state, and local governments in the United States. Only a few studies have produced comparative analyses of e-governance in municipalities worldwide. This particular e-governance survey, first conducted in 2003 and repeated in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011, represents a continued effort to evaluate e-governance in large municipalities globally. The study systematically utilizes the comprehensive Rutgers E-Governance Performance Index by classifying 104 measures into five categories: privacy, usability, services, content, and citizen and social engagement. Evaluating each municipality’s website in its native language to examine how the local constituency perceives their government online, the survey highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each municipality in terms of the five subject areas and then ranks the municipalities on an overall basis and within each category.

The e-governance study highlights the increased attention spent on usability, as the percentage of cities with official websites increased significantly around the world. Oceania was the top-ranked continent, followed by Europe and Asia. The top-ranked cities for each continent are Johannesburg (Africa), Seoul (Asia), Madrid (Europe), Toronto (North America), Auckland (Oceania), and Sao Paolo (South America). Madrid replaced Prague as the highest-ranked city for European municipalities, and Toronto switched places with New York City as the highest-ranked city in North America.

According to Professor Marc Holzer, Dean of the School of Public Affairs and Administration and Executive Director of the E-Governance Institute at Rutgers-Newark: “The E-Governance Performance Index used for the survey is a set of benchmarks that spotlight high levels of performance throughout the world and foster high expectations for improved web-based municipal service delivery in the near future, in all countries. Administering the survey jointly helped to reduce cultural bias in the survey methodology.”

The continued study of municipalities worldwide, with a sixth evaluation planned in 2013, will further provide insight into the direction of e-governance and the performance of e-governance throughout the regions of the world. Rutgers’ E-Governance Institute is also conducting the third United States States/Cities E-Governance Survey this year. The survey evaluates the status of e-governance in all 50 states and the two largest cities in each state. The Rutgers E-Governance Institute also conducts its Global E-Governance Survey, evaluating the status of e-governance in the largest municipalities in 100 of the world’s most “wired” countries. The E-Governance Institute is a program of the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University in Newark, which U.S. News & World Report recently ranked 4th in Information and Technology among graduate programs in public affairs and administration in the United States.

Visit the E-Governance website at to access Digital Governance in Municipalities Worldwide (2011-12) as well as the latest reports, articles, and publications on the best practices of e-governance around the world.


About Rutgers-Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA)

The School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers-Newark educates and motivates students to choose careers in public service and administration through its innovative and comprehensive undergraduate, Master of Public Administration (MPA), Executive MPA, PhD, and professional and graduate certificate programs. The school’s faculty generates knowledge and best practices in public service and administration, and collaborates with public and nonprofit sector organizations and professionals throughout the U.S. and the world. Guided by the principles of knowledge, competence, diversity, and service – with an emphasis on public service values and competencies for effective performance – SPAA promotes accountability, transparency, and performance in the public and nonprofit sectors.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Rutgers SPAA in Newark:

  • 4th nationally in Information and Technology Management
  • 7th nationally in Public Management/Administration
  • 10th nationally in Public Finance and Budgeting
  • 11th nationally in City Management and Urban Policy
  • 18th nationally in Nonprofit Management
  • 23rd nationally in Public Affairs
  • 24th nationally in Public Policy Analysis


MEDIA CONTACT:     Marc Holzer, PhD,; 973-353-5268                                                                    

CONTACT:       Aroon Manoharan, PhD,