In 2010, one-fifth of foreign investors chose the Americas as a location for investment. North America’s share of global FDI increased from 11% in 2009 to 13% in 2010, while Latin America and the Caribbean retained their market share of 9% of global FDI.

While North America attracted more projects than Latin America and the Caribbean, the average project size in Latin America and the Caribbean was twice the size in capital investment and three times the size in number of jobs created than that of North America.


North America has grown for the sixth consecutive year as an FDI location. Figures for 2010 show that the global recession did not deter investors from the area as project numbers increased 19% on 2009. North America was the only region to experience growth in project numbers in both 2009 and 2010.

US tops global charts

The US has maintained its position as the number one global destination country for FDI for the second successive year, extending its lead on China in terms of project numbers attracted. In 2010, though capital investment fell by 22% to an estimated $54.7bn, job creation increased to an estimated 122,882, up 15% on 2009, on top of the 19% year-on-year increase in project numbers.

Canada also performed well in 2010, with projects numbers increasing by 16%, resulting in the country climbing from 17th most attractive destination country globally for FDI to 13th. FDI projects into Canada were more capital and labour intensive than FDI into the neighbouring US. In 2010, the average project into the US was $41.1m and created 92 jobs, while the average project size in Canada was $62.5m and created 114 jobs.

California and Ontario lead state rankings

California and Ontario maintained their positions as the top two destination states in North America for FDI in 2010. California in the US attracted a total of 172 projects, an increase of 7% in 2010, while Ontario in Canada attracted 127 FDI projects, an increase of 21% compared with 2009.

California also ranked as the top destination state in North America for capital investment, with growth of 37% in 2010, and second in terms of job creation, although it did experience a decline of 8%. Ontario ranked second in terms of capital investment and first for jobs created, but numbers fell 31% and 14%, respectively. Together these two states attracted 20% of capital investment and 14% of jobs created through FDI in North America in 2010.

Florida has best year yet

Florida experienced its best year for FDI attraction since fDi Markets records began in 2003. In 2010, the number of FDI projects increased 67% to 72 projects, with Florida attracting 5% of FDI into North America.

The state of New York witnessed the largest nominal increase, attracting 126 projects, up 45%, moving it to third position among destination states in North America.

The biggest movers in the rankings include South Carolina, which moved from 15th position to 11th, and Tennessee, which climbed from 22nd to 15th place, as FDI into both states almost doubled. FDI into Texas and Georgia fell 12% and 17%, respectively, in 2010. 

New York and Toronto top city list

Both New York and Toronto, placed first and second, extended their leads as the top destination cities in North America in 2010 with figures up 60% and 14%, respectively. New York attracted a total of 101 FDI projects in 2010, which helped the city climb the global ranks to become the seventh most popular destination city in 2010, up from 16th place in 2009. Houston, San Francisco and Miami claimed third, fourth and fifth positions in North America with project numbers increasing by 40%, 48% and 26% respectively.

Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; and Atlanta, Georgia, fell out of the top five destination cities in North America in 2010, with project numbers down 32%, 23% and 28%, respectively.

Interstate investment increase

Interstate investments showed continued growth in 2010, with the number of interstate projects in the US rising 31%. In 2010, 2760 interstate projects in the US were recorded by fDi Markets, which involved a combined investment of an estimated $117bn and the creation of an estimated 782,513 jobs. While FDI into the US is growing, interstate investment is still much more important for capital investment (more than double the level of FDI) and especially job creation (more than six times the level of FDI).

Texas overtook California to become the top destination state for interstate investments in 2010. Interstate projects into Texas increased 33%, with 227 projects locating in the state in 2010. Other states that witnessed a significant increase include Tennessee (71%), Kentucky (54%) and Pennsylvania (51%). Of the top destination states, North Carolina experienced the sharpest decline of 8%.

California remained the top source state for interstate investments in 2010, with 12% of projects sourced from there. New York, Ohio and Illinois also increased in importance as source states in 2010, with outward interstate projects growing by 19%, 49% and 59%, respectively.

Financial services and business services continued to dominate the type of interstate investments, with business services the top activity, accounting for 31% of all investments. Scottrade was the most active American company for interstate investments, accounting for a total of 57 in 2010. 

Latam attraction

The Latin America and the Caribbean region attracted 9% of global FDI projects in 2010. A total of 1055 FDI projects located in the region, a decline of 4% on 2009 and the first decline since 2005. Despite the decline in project numbers, capital investment increased by 8% to an estimated $112bn, whereas job creation figures fell slightly by 2% to an estimated 282,007.

The region attracted among the largest projects in the world in 2010. The average capital investment per project was $106m, second only to Africa, and the average job creation per project was 267, the largest in the world. 

Brazil overtakes Mexico

For the first time since 2005, Brazil overtook Mexico to rank as the top destination country for FDI into the Latin America and the Caribbean region. While the number of FDI projects increased by 29% in Brazil in 2010, Mexico experienced a 28% decrease. Brazil attracted 32% of FDI into the region in 2010, with 337 FDI projects involving a combined capital investment of an estimated $41.2bn creating an estimated 120,450 jobs. On a global level, Brazil entered the top 10 destination countries in the world, moving from 11th position to seventh place in 2010 in terms of number of FDI projects attracted. Brazil ranked fourth globally in terms of capital investment and job creation.

Colombia also witnessed success in FDI attraction as project numbers more than doubled in 2010. The country attracted a total of 89 FDI projects in 2010 which consisted of an estimated $8.3bn of capital investment creating an estimated 12,599 jobs. Eight per cent of FDI into the Latin America and the Caribbean region was located in Colombia in 2010, up from 4% in 2009.

Mexico ranked second in the Latin America and the Caribbean region in 2010, although project numbers, capital investment and job creation fell by 28%, 44% and 52%, respectively. As a result, Mexico did not feature in the global top 10 destinations, falling from ninth place in 2009 to 15th place in 2010. Chile and Peru also experienced a sharp decline in FDI in 2010, with project numbers down 46% and 32%, respectively.

São Paulo remains top city

São Paulo remained the top destination city in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2010 with a quarter of all FDI projects in Brazil locating there. The city attracted 85 projects, up 23%, with capital investment up 189% and job creation figures up 7% on the previous year.

Bogotá in Colombia climbed from seventh position in 2009 to second in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2010. FDI projects into the city increased 82%. Montevideo in Uruguay followed a similar trend, climbing from 17th to 10th position as FDI into the city doubled.

Mexico City experienced the largest nominal decline in the region with 44% fewer projects in 2010 compared with 2009. FDI into Santiago in Chile also declined with figures halving, resulting in a drop from third to seventh in 2010. A sharp fall in FDI from the troubled economies of Spain and the US was a key cause of the decline of FDI in both Mexico and Chile.