The 10 Best Cities to Live in Around the World
Auckland, New Zealand is the most livable city in the world, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2021 Global Liveability Index. Each year, this report analyzes 140 cities around the world and rates them on a scale from one to 100, looking at over 30 factors in five major categories - stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure - to determine the most (and least) livable destinations. Cities in Australia and New Zealand dominate six of the top 10 spots this year, thanks in part to their pandemic response, and several of these places have made the list year after year with consistently high ratings.
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So, what do these ratings signify? A score of 100 conveys that the city has ideal livability, while one means that the city's livability is intolerable. The categories are weighted differently, too; stability accounts for 25% of the total and considers the prevalence of petty and violent crime, the threat of terror, military conflict, and civil unrest, while health care, which accounts for 20% of the total, assesses the availability and quality of private and public health care and access to over-the-counter drugs. Education counts for the least amount - just 10% - and factors in the availability and quality of private as well as public education indicators.
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Infrastructure accounts for 20% of the total, taking into consideration things like public transport, housing, energy and water provisions, and more. Finally, culture and environment, which makes up 25% of the total rating, covers a wide range of factors, including level of corruption, humidity and temperature, censorship, food and drink, and more.
The latest report indicates the significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on some countries, while also identifying cities that were able to contain the virus faster and allow their residents to live relatively normal lives. (Data for this survey was collected from Feb. 22 to March 21, 2021.)
In a statement shared with Travel + Leisure, Upasana Dutt, head of global liveability at The Economist Intelligence Unit, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on global liveability. Cities across the world are now much less liveable than they were before the pandemic began. However, despite the challenges, American cities have risen in the rankings as a result of a reduced strain on the healthcare system, with the rolling out of the vaccination program and better management of cases by the state governments. The cities that have risen to the top of the rankings this year are largely the ones that have taken stringent measures to contain the pandemic."
For a full breakdown of the categories and rankings, visit The Economist Intelligence Unit website.
These are the best places to live in the world, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2021 Global Liveability Index. Did your favorite city make the top 10?
1. Auckland, New Zealand
With an overall index of 96 and high marks across all categories - including a perfect score for education - Auckland earned the top spot this year, attributed partially to its border closures and low COVID-19 numbers, which allowed cultural attractions and schools to stay open.
2. Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan, is ranked number two, with an index of 94.2 and perfect scores for stability and health care.
3. Adelaide, Australia
At number three on the list of most liveable cities, Adelaide scored an overall index of 94 and perfect 100s for both health care and education.
4. Wellington, New Zealand and Tokyo, Japan (tie)
Wellington, New Zealand, and Tokyo, Japan, each earned an overall score of 93.7, tying them for fourth.
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6. Perth, Australia
Perth came in the sixth spot, with an overall score of 93.3 and 100s for health care, education, and infrastructure.
7. Zurich, Switzerland
With an overall index of 92.8, Zurich, Switzerland, landed in the seventh spot, with high scores in health care, stability, and infrastructure.
8. Geneva, Switzerland and Melbourne, Australia (tie)
Geneva, Switzerland, and Melbourne, Australia, tied for the eighth spot, with overall scores of 92.5.
10. Brisbane, Australia
Finally, the 10th most liveable city in the world is Brisbane, Australia, with an overall index of 92.4.