Melbourne has vaulted Vancouver to become the best city in 2011 in the world to live, according to the latest Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Survey.
Country City Rank Overall Rating (100=ideal)
Australia Melbourne 1 97.5
Austria Vienna 2 97.4
Canada Vancouver 3 97.3
Canada Toronto 4 97.2
Canada Calgary 5 96.6
Australia Sydney 6 96.1
Finland Helsinki 7 96.0
Australia Perth 8 95.9
Australia Adelaide 8 95.9
New Zealand Auckland 10 95.7
Cote d’Ivoire Abidjan 131 45.9
Iran Tehran 132 45.8
Cameroon Douala 133 44
Pakistan Karachi 134 40.9
Libya Tripoli 135 40.4
Algeria Algiers 136 40.2
Nigeria Lagos 137 39.0
PNG Port Moresby 138 38.9
Bangladesh Dhaka 139 38.7
Zimbabwe Harare 140 38.2
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
In 2010 Vancouver was still the most liveable city in the world, according to the latest annual index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The Canadian city got 98 points out of 100, the same as last year.
The ranking scores 140 cities from 0-100 on 30 factors spread across five areas: stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. These numbers are then weighted and combined to produce an overall figure.
There are no great changes at the top of the ranking. Vienna, Melbourne and Toronto still occupy second, third and fourth positions behind Vancouver, and the top ten is still dominated by Canadian and Australian cities, which benefit in particular from perfect scores for health care and education.
These rankings are used by employers assigning hardship allowances as part of expatriate relocation packages. So you might be surprised by the position of a city such as Detroit, whose image has been rather battered in recent years. Yet in 40th place, it is considered a more liveable city than both London and New York in 54th and 56th positions. These two cities, which TimeOut ranks as the two “greatest” in the world, are tripped up by their “stability” scores. “Stability” reflects residents’ fear of terror, crime and conflict, and in this respect no city in the top 50 gets within ten points of New York’s score of 70.
Cities that score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. This often fosters a broad range of recreational availability without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure. Seven of the top ten scoring cities are in Australia and Canada, where population densities of 2.88 and 3.40 people per sq km respectively compare with a global (land) average of 45.65 and a US average of 32.
At the other end of the ranking, Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, is in 140th place, thanks to particularly poor scores for its stability, health care and infrastructure. African and South Asiancities were generally the worst performing in the EIU’s rankings.
Honolulu at 26th tops American cities in the list just ahead of Pittsburgh, ranked 29th, and Los Angeles (which rose to) 44th.
Pariscame in at number 16.
The top Asian city was the Japanese city of Osaka at number 12, tying with Geneva, and beating the Japanese capital of Tokyo, which was placed 18th.
Greece’s capital Athens dropped from 62 to 67th. That ranking put it below Uruguay’s capital Montevideo.Similarly, the sliding liveability across much of the Middle East with its so-called Arab Spring-inspired civil unrest will come as little surprise.The Libyan capital Tripoli, which has fallen under the control of rebel fighters in recent days, dived to 135th – and presumably would be even lower if the EIU conducted the survey now. Perhaps more jarring will be the relatively low-rankings given for cities well-known to Australian travellers.
Hong Kong was ranked at 31st, San Francisco came in at 51st, as did Singapore. Elsewhere in the Asian region, the giant Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai came in at 72nd and 79th, respectively, while India’s commercial hub of Mumbai languished at 116th, just above Jakarta, Indonesia, at 119th.