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Amazon’s HQ2 announcement is imminent. Here’s a look at the final contenders.

Sort them by tech talent, rent and commute times.

Signature glass spheres for Amazon’s urban campus under construction in Seattle, Amazon’s original corporate headquarters
Signature glass spheres for Amazon’s urban campus under construction in Seattle, Amazon’s original corporate headquarter
David Ryder / Getty
Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

After more than a year of fanfare, competition and city government prostrations, Amazon’s announcement of its second headquarters location is imminent.

Back in September 2017 the e-commerce company first asked for proposals from North American cities on where to house its HQ2, which would come with 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in capital spending for the winning city.

Amazon said it was looking for a city equal to its Seattle headquarters and would preference those with lots of tech talent, good public transit and attractive tax exemptions. After receiving more than 200 proposals, Amazon culled those to 20 finalists in January.

While Amazon has been mum about the winning city, plenty of people have placed their bets. NYU business professor Scott Galloway told a Code Commerce audience last month that the competition was a “ruse” and a game that was “over before it started.” He said that Amazon has planned all along to locate its second headquarters in the Washington, D.C., area, thanks to its proximity to CEO Jeff Bezos’s home and, more importantly, federal lawmakers.

Ahead of the announcement, let’s take a look at the finalists and how they compare on a number of factors. CBRE’s tech talent rank takes into account 13 metrics important to tech companies, including an area’s concentration of computer science degrees, existing tech industry and cost of living. We also looked at average office rent and commute times to international airports.

Sort the finalists by category here:

Here’s that information on a map (hover on each city marker to see related info):

Though Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland, were also finalists, we didn’t include them because most of our data was on a city level. Either would mean a win for the larger Washington, D.C., area.

Columbus has the shortest airport commute time, Indianapolis has the cheapest high-quality office rent and tech wages would be cheapest in Toronto.

The decision will likely hinge heavily on government incentives like tax breaks, which have mostly been kept secret. What we do know: Maryland offered $8.5 billion in incentives while New Jersey has proposed $7 billion in tax and other perks. Boston published its whole 218-page proposal for why Amazon should locate there.

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