The world’s most liveable cities in 2023


The world’s most liveable cities in 2023

Originally published by The Economist on 21 June 2023

Living conditions in cities across the world have fully recovered from the deterioration caused by the covid-19 pandemic, EIU's latest liveability index shows. It rates living conditions in 173 cities across five categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Cities in the Asia-Pacific region have rebounded the most. The index also suggests that life in cities is a bit better than at any time in the past 15 years. Our charts below show which cities topped the ranking.

The liveability survey was designed to help companies calculate hardship allowances for staff who were moving to a new—and possibly less tolerable—city. As a by-product, it also provides a snapshot of the most, and least, desirable cities to live in, at least if you’re an expat. Vienna, with its excellent mix of stability, culture and entertainment, and reliable infrastructure, tops the ranking for the fourth time in five years. Copenhagen, a similarly sized city with many of the same characteristics, is second. Melbourne, a fixture at the top of the ranking in the past, comes in third. In all, nine of the top ten cities are small to mid-sized; all ten, and indeed most of the top 50, are in rich countries. Big cities with high levels of crime, congestion and density tend to fare less well. London—down 12 places from a year ago—comes in 46th and New York is down ten spots to 69th.

Wellington and Auckland have climbed 35 and 25 places compared with a year ago; Hanoi is up 20 and Kuala Lumpur jumped 19 positions. Post-pandemic improvements in education and health-care scores across Asia, Africa and the Middle East were the main reasons for this year’s rise in living standards.

At the bottom of the table, Damascus has been the least liveable city in the index for more than a decade. Tripoli is one space above, although its score is nearly ten points higher than that of Syria’s war-ravaged capital. Kyiv, despite its efforts to protect itself from the war, also features in the bottom ten. It was excluded from the index in 2022 because Russia invaded Ukraine while the data were being collected. Its infrastructure score of 23.2 out of 100 is the lowest in the index, thanks to Russian bombs.

Of the five categories covered by eiu’s survey, only the stability score dropped on average in 2023. Stability scores in many eastern European cities, which fell in 2022 because they are close to Ukraine, rose this year. But stability deteriorated elsewhere. Striking workers in Greece, pension protests in France and deadly clashes in Israel and Peru reduced scores in those countries. Inflation could lead to further falls in stability scores, and thus damage overall liveability scores, in many parts of the world over the next year.

Original article with infographics on City Liveability Index data from 2013-2023: