Global livability index reveals the 10 most livable cities in the world

The EIU’s annual report assesses the comfort and livability of cities worldwide, using 30 indicators divided into five categories.

For the third year in a row, Vienna, Austria's capital, has been named the world's most livable city by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The EIU's annual report assesses the comfort and livability of cities worldwide, using 30 indicators divided into five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

Vienna achieved perfect scores in stability, healthcare, education, and infrastructure, securing its top position. Close behind Vienna were Copenhagen, Denmark, in second place, and Zurich, Switzerland, in third.

Despite its leading position, Vienna's overall score slightly declined in the culture and environment categories due to a "lack of major sporting events," according to the EIU Global Livability Index for 2024.

"EIU’s Livability Index has risen fractionally over the past year," the report stated. "Declines in stability and infrastructure across several cities in advanced economies were offset by structural improvements in healthcare and education in several cities in developing markets."

Here are the 10 most livable cities in the world, according to the EIU:

  • Vienna, Austria

  • Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Zurich, Switzerland

  • Melbourne, Australia

  • Calgary, Canada

  • Geneva, Switzerland

  • Sydney, Australia

  • Vancouver, Canada

  • Osaka, Japan

  • Auckland, New Zealand

Four cities from the Asia-Pacific region made it into this year’s top 10: Melbourne and Sydney from Australia, Osaka from Japan, and Auckland from New Zealand.

Melbourne, Sydney, and Vancouver remained in the top 10 but experienced a drop in rankings due to "a significant shortfall in housing availability," according to the EIU. This housing issue also affected Toronto, which fell to 12th place this year after being in the top 10 for the previous two years.

Western Europe was the highest-scoring region for livability, with an overall score of 92 out of 100. However, it has seen a decline since last year due to increased protests and crime, affecting the stability category.

North America ranked as the second-best region, with an average score of 90.5 out of 100, excelling particularly in education. The ongoing housing crisis in Canada has negatively impacted the region’s infrastructure scores.

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Asia's Rising Livability

Asian cities continue to improve their livability scores. Hong Kong notably jumped from 61st to 50th place this year.

"Although not quite back to its pre-2019 scores, Hong Kong’s political landscape has stabilized, with the risks of disruptions from mass protests now negligible," according to the EIU. "The national security law and local regulations introduced earlier in 2024 have restored political stability, but this change in score reflects a huge tradeoff to Hong Kong civil society, as evidenced by the city’s plunging score in our separately published Democracy Index."

Asia's 10 most livable cities are:

  • Melbourne, Australia (4th globally)

  • Sydney, Australia (7th globally)

  • Osaka, Japan (9th globally, tied)

  • Auckland, New Zealand (9th globally, tied)

  • Adelaide, Australia (11th globally)

  • Tokyo, Japan (14th globally)

  • Perth, Australia (15th globally)

  • Brisbane, Australia (16th globally)

  • Wellington, New Zealand (20th globally)

  • Singapore (26th globally)

Singapore, which ranked 26th globally, recorded a significant rise, being the second biggest mover upwards in the last 12 months. The Southeast Asian nation scored a perfect 100 in the healthcare category.

Japanese cities Osaka and Tokyo also ranked highly. "As the most populous among the top 20 cities, Tokyo deserves additional credit for maintaining high standards of public service provision and security across an enormous population," the EIU said.

Indian cities, however, have seen a decline in livability scores, partly due to poor air quality. "Infrastructure development is also a priority for the government, but given the country’s size and geography, it will take time to improve," according to the EIU.

Challenges and Changes

The report highlights various challenges affecting livability. "Of the 58 Asian cities in the index, 16 have attained the highest level of liveability (score above 80)," said Barsali Bhattacharyya, deputy industry director at EIU. "However, 11 Asian cities received scores below 60, at which point we define liveability as becoming seriously constrained, as these cities struggle with structural, political, and climatic problems that are hard to overcome."

The stability category recorded the biggest decline this year, impacted by geopolitical conflict, civil unrest, as well as housing crises and crime in many surveyed cities.

The EIU's report underscores the dynamic and evolving nature of urban living conditions, influenced by a complex interplay of factors ranging from political stability to housing availability. As cities around the world continue to develop and face new challenges, these rankings provide valuable insights into what makes a city livable and how they can improve to offer better quality of life to their residents.

Note: Materials provided above by the The Brighter Side of News. Content may be edited for style and length.

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Rebecca Shavit is the Good News, Psychology, Behavioral Science, and Celebrity Good News reporter for the Brighter Side of News.