The survey assesses 140 cities around the world to establish which provide the best and worst living conditions: Vienna has taken the top spot overtaking Melbourne who have topped the survey for seven consecutive years.
The rating is based on over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. As well as being a useful indicator for individuals to assess the level of challenge that might be faced in any given location, the scores are also used by many companies in assessing what hardship allowance should be paid.
The top ten cities this year are as follows:
Overall the EIU indicate that there has been an improvement in stability and safety across most regions. European cities had been affected by the perception of the threat of terrorism, but there has been a return to more normal levels over the last six months. Manchester and Paris have been one the highest risers as their score recovers from the terror attacks in recent years.
EIU also comment that those cities that scope best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries. Several cities in the top ten also have relatively low population density, which facilitate a range of recreational activities without high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure. Australia and Canada both have three cities in the top ten, which have respectively 3.2 and 4 people per square kilometre. The global land average is 58 according to 2017 World Bank statistics. Austria and Japan are the exceptions to this with respective densities of 106.7 and 347.8 people per square kilometre. However, these cities are both relatively small compared to major cities like New York, London and Paris.
The larger global business centres like London (48th) and New York (57th) do not mange to get into the top of the rankings. EIU argue that this is because they are ‘victims of their own success’ as their ‘big city buzz’ can overstretch infrastructure and cause higher crime rates. They have a wide range of recreational activities, but have higher levels of crime, congestion and public transport. They are, however, in the highest tier of liveability, especially when compared with the worst scoring locations.
At the other end of the scale the ten cities at the bottom of the ranking were as follows:
In the bottom tier with scores below 50% most aspects of living are severely restricted. Conflict is responsible for many of the lowest scores. Violence is often a factor whether through crime, civil insurgency, terrorism or war. Stability indicators have the highest single scores, but also have an adverse effect on other categories with conflict damaging infrastructure and overburdening hospitals and impact availability of goods, services and recreational activities. Another factor in the low scores is the unavailability of adequate infrastructure