The Economist Intelligence Unit released their latest Global Liveability Survey this week and once again Australian and Canadian cities have come out on top.
According to the annual survey, which ranks 140 different cities according to a set of criteria that includes stability, infrastructure, education, culture and environment, Australian and Canadian cities offer the best standard of life in the world, with four cities from Australia and three from Canada dominating the top ten.
The purpose of the research is to identify the best and worst living conditions on offer in the world. Every city in the index receives a score that is based on 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five different categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.
Melbourne topped the list of the most livable cities with a score of 97.5 out of 100, followed by Vienna, which scored 97.4 and Vancouver with 97.3. The Economist Intelligence Unit speculated that the unchanged status of the top tier “may primarily reflect renewed stability as some economies begin to recover from the global economic crisis of a few years ago, although the continuing crisis in the euro zone and tighter fiscal budgets may have also slowed planned improvements, meaning that scores have remained static rather than moving up or down.”
While Vancouver’s previously dominated the livability index, where it reigned supreme for nearly a decade, recent spates of petty crime, a lack of housing availability and road congestion have negatively impacted this year’s results.
This year’s results once again demonstrate that medium-sized cities that are situated in countries that have a low population density are likely to offer better living conditions for expatriates. According to The Economist, “Such conditions are likely to result in low crime levels, functioning infrastructure and easily available recreational activities. Murder rates in Melbourne, Vienna and Vancouver, for example, were respectively 2.7, 1.1 and 2.5 per 100,000 people in 2010-11, compared with the American average of 4.8. Indeed American cities tend not to do as well as their Australian and Canadian counterparts because poor scores for crime and congestion negate their decent marks for culture.”
In Asia, Osaka, Japan was ranked at number 12, Tokyo, Japan, came in at number 18 and Hong Kong at 31.
The most livable city in America was named as Honolulu, Hawaii, which tied with Amsterdam for number 26.
In the United Kingdom, Machester and London, which were both scenes of out of control riots in 2011, saw their ratings fall two places and nine places respectively to 51st and 55th. In a press release, Jon Copestake, the survey's editor, said: "UK cities have seen a slight downgrade in liveability due to the mass outbreaks of civil unrest that took place last year.
"Although hosting the Olympics has subsequently provided a definite boost for London's profile, it was already among the world's most vibrant cities, with plenty to see and do, so has had no impact on overall lifestyle."
1. Melbourne, Australia
2. Vienna, Austria
3. Vancouver, Canada
4. Toronto, Canada
5. Calgary, Canada and Sydney, Australia (tie)
7. Helsinki, Finland
8. Perth, Australia
9. Adelaide, Australia
10. Auckland, New Zealand
1. Tehran, Iran
2. Karachi, Pakistan
3. Algiers, Algeria
4. Lagos, Nigeria
5. Dhaka, Bhangladesh
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