These are the best places to live in the world, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index.

By Elizabeth Rhodes
December 17, 2020
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Vienna, Austria is the most livable city in the world, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2019 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 cities. Cities in Australia and Canada dominate six of the top 10 spots, and many of these 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, or civil unrest, while health care, which accounts for 20% of the total, assesses the availability and quality of private and public health care, access to over-the-counter drugs, and general health care indicators. Education counts for the least amount — just 10% — and considers the availability and quality of private education as well as public education indicators.

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 index identifies cities with fluctuating ratings as well, with the top five biggest improvers and decliners. Increased stability and better infrastructure (among other improvements) have helped Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire; Hanoi, Vietnam; Kiev, Ukraine; and Belgrade, Serbia rise up, while economic issues, crime, and conflict contribute to the declining rankings of places like Detroit, United States; Caracas, Venezuela; and Tripoli, Libya. (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 2019 Global Liveability Index. Did your favorite city make the top 10?

1. Vienna, Austria

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Coming in at the top spot with 99.1 out of 100, Vienna scored a perfect 100 in the stability, health care, education, and infrastructure categories, and 96.3 for culture and environment.

2. Melbourne, Australia

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Melbourne previously held the top spot for seven years before being demoted to two in 2018’s survey, but the city still got perfect marks in health care, education, and infrastructure for an overall rating of 98.4.

3. Sydney, Australia

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Another Australian city came in third place in the 2019 index, with a rating of 98.1. Like Melbourne, Sydney received perfect 100s in health care, education, and infrastructure.

4. Osaka, Japan

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Osaka is the most livable city in Asia, taking the fourth spot with an overall rating of 97.7. Osaka got perfect scores for stability, health care, and education, with slightly lower marks for culture and environment and infrastructure.

5. Calgary, Canada

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The first North American city on the list is Calgary, Canada, with an overall rating of 97.5. The city actually scored perfect 100s in everything except culture and environment, for which the city earned a 90.

6. Vancouver, Canada

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The second of three Canadian cities in the top 10 best places to live in the world, Vancouver received an overall rating of 97.3, with 100s for health care, culture and environment, and education.

7. Toronto, Canada and Tokyo, Japan (tie)

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Toronto came in at fourth place this year, with an overall rating of 97.2. Its healthcare, stability, and education scores were all perfect 100's. Toronto's infrastructure score was 96.4, while its culture and environment score was 89.1.
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Tied for the number seven spot, Toronto and Tokyo received a 97.2 rating. Both cities were rated 100 for stability, health care, and education, with slightly lower marks for culture and environment and infrastructure.

9. Copenhagen, Denmark

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The second European city on the list, Copenhagen comes in at number nine, with an overall rating of 96.8 and perfect scores in education and infrastructure.

10. Adelaide, Australia

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Rounding out the top 10 is another Australian city — Adelaide. With an overall rating of 96.6, Adelaide received 100s in health care and education.