Vienna has been named as the most liveable city in the world – again

Vienna is named the world’s most liveable city for the second year running with Melbourne the runner-up (while London and New York fail to make the top 40 again)

  • Three of the top ten most liveable cities are in Australia and three are in Canada
  • There are two European cities in the top 10 – Vienna and Copenhagen 
  • The least liveable city in the world is named as the Syrian capital, Damascus 

Vienna has been named as the most liveable city in the world for the second year running.

The Austrian capital received near-perfect scores in a study that looked at 140 cities from around the world and scored them on stability, healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.

Melbourne is in second place, while neither London nor New York makes the top 40. The world’s least liveable city was found to be the Syrian capital, Damascus, for the second year in a row.

Vienna has been named as the most liveable city in the world for the second year running 



1. Vienna, Austria

2. Melbourne, Australia

3. Sydney, Australia 

4. Osaka, Japan

5. Calgary, Canada

6. Vancouver, Canada

7. Tokyo, Japan

7. Toronto, Canada

9. Copenhagen, Denmark

10. Adelaide, Australia


131. Caracas, Venezuela

132. Algiers, Algeria

133. Douala, Cameroon

134. Harare, Zimbabwe

135. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

136. Karachi, Pakistan

137. Tripoli, Libya

138. Dhaka, Bangladesh

139. Lagos, Nigeria

140. Damascus, Syria

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit Global Liveability Ranking 2019

The list has been compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit as part of its Global Liveability Ranking for 2019. 

Sydney comes third followed by Osaka in Japan with Calgary in Canada fifth.

Sixth spot is taken by Vancouver while there is a tie for seventh between Tokyo and Toronto.

Only one other European city, Copenhagen in Denmark, makes it to the top ten – it’s in ninth place. 

Adelaide sneaks into 10th place making it the third Australian city in the top ten.

The Australian city of Melbourne claims second place in the research by the Economist Intelligence Unit

The highest-ranked city in the UK is Manchester in 38th while London could only manage 48th.

The most highly-rated American city is Honolulu in 22nd. Atlanta comes 33rd, Pittsburgh 34th, Seattle 36th, Washington DC 40th, Chicago and Miami both 42nd, Boston 45th, San Francisco 46th, Minneapolis 47th, Los Angeles 51st, Cleveland 52nd, Houston 55th and Detroit 56th. New York is ranked 58th.

The report notes that London and New York didn’t fare as well as other cities as ‘they struggle in the stability category, owing to perceptions of the risk of crime and terrorism’. 

The report also notes: ‘Infrastructure is also perceived as a weakness, as both cities are struggling to cope with growing pains.’

There is a strong contingent of European cities at the top of the rankings, with eight of the top 20 cities located in the region.

Of the 68 cities awarded scores in the top tier of liveability (a rating of 80 or above), 31 are European.

The only western European city not considered to be among the world’s most liveable is Athens, the Greek capital.

The third most liveable city is name as Sydney, pictured. Three cities in Australia make the top 10 

Researchers believe this is largely owing to swingeing austerity measures and economic weakness since the global financial crisis of 2008-09, which have affected public-funded areas such as healthcare, education and infrastructure.

At the bottom of the table, cities in Africa, Asia and South America make up the least liveable cities. 

These are Caracas (131), Algiers (132), Douala (133), Harare (134), Port Moresby (135), Karachi (136), Tripoli (137), Dhaka (138) and Lagos (139).  

Meanwhile, for the first time, the index also notes the impact of the effects of climate change on liveability.

Several cities, such as New Delhi and Cairo, received big downgrades on their scores owing to problems such as poor air quality, undesirable average temperatures and inadequate water provision.

Meanwhile the report also highlights the cities that have had the biggest climb up the index over the past five years.

Osaka in Japan, pictured, comes fourth in the ranking with Calgary in Canada in fifth

These are Moscow, Belgrade, Hanoi, Kyiv and Abidjan – a city in Côte d’Ivoire.

Cities that have dropped down the index the most in the past five years are Detroit, Asunción in Paraguay, Tunis, Caracas and the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Agathe Demarais, the EIU’s global forecasting director, said: ‘Western Europe and North America continue to be the most liveable regions in the world, and cities in these regions remain well placed in the overall rankings. Western Europe is home to the top-scoring city, Vienna, hosts 16 of the top 30 and 26 of the 68 that record scores of 80 or higher.

‘In general, cities in northern Europe score highly, while those in southern Europe achieve poorer scores by comparison, hampered by factors such as higher crime rates and slightly weaker infrastructure scores.

‘The regional average ratings for western Europe and North America both exceed 90, which is significantly higher than the next-best regional average – 73 for Asia and Australasia.

‘In western Europe, the category with the highest average score is healthcare, universal free healthcare coverage. In previous editions, Europe was subject to higher perceptions of the risk of terrorism, which has pulled down both local and regional averages. Over the past year, however, there have been perceived improvements in security and stability in western European cities.

In the ranking of 140 cities from around the world the Syrian capital, Damascus (pictured), comes bottom

‘Central and Eastern European cities tend to group together in the index, with many occupying the second tier of liveability, where day-to-day living is generally adequate and stable, but some aspects of life may be more challenging. 

‘Cities in former Soviet republics have tended to score well on education, a legacy effect from the communist era. However, this is offset by another lingering feature of the Soviet period, underinvestment in infrastructure. That said, the past five years have seen solid improvements in this category in many cities, particularly those benefiting from EU investment.

‘We expect problems relating to climate change to put increasing pressure on liveability scores in the coming years and for the number of cities affected to grow.

‘In recent years liveability has generally been rising, thanks to improvements in stability and better education and healthcare provision in cities within emerging markets, but these improvements are under serious threat from an increasingly adverse climate.’


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