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June 22, 2023

Latest liveability survey reveals Vienna as the world’s most liveable city

The EIU's Liveability Index reached a 15-year high, indicating a positive trend as the world recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

By City Monitor Staff

In the latest report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Vienna, Austria has emerged as the most liveable city in the world for 2023.

Vienna - most liveable cities 2023
Vienna city skyline views from Schonbrunn Palace Garden. (Photo by Andrew Michael/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

While cities in Asia and the Middle East have seen significant improvements in healthcare and education, stability scores have slightly declined due to civil unrest in various parts of the globe.

Most liveable cities 2023

Vienna has consistently occupied the top position in the rankings, except for the period during the pandemic. The city’s stability, rich culture and entertainment, reliable infrastructure, and exceptional education and healthcare services contributed to its success. Copenhagen, Denmark secured the second spot, while Melbourne and Sydney in Australia made a strong comeback to claim the third and fourth positions after experiencing a decline in 2022.

The Asia-Pacific region witnessed progress, with eight cities among the top ten movers up the rankings. Cities like Wellington and Auckland in New Zealand and Hanoi in Vietnam showed significant improvements as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, allowing for economic recovery. However, Western European cities slipped down the most liveable cities rankings, largely due to instances of civil unrest and workers’ strikes affecting their stability ratings.

The top ten cities are:

  1. Vienna
  2. Copenhagen
  3. Melbourne
  4. Sydney
  5. Vancouver
  6. Zurich
  7. Calgary
  8. Geneva
  9. Toronto
  10. Osaka
  11. Auckland

While some cities experienced positive developments, others faced challenges

Kiev, Ukraine, rejoined the survey after being excluded following Russia’s invasion in 2022. Unfortunately, Kiev’s stability, infrastructure, and overall liveability were significantly impacted by the war, resulting in a low ranking of 165th out of 173 cities. Damascus, Syria, and Tripoli, Libya remain at the bottom of the list due to social unrest, terrorism and ongoing conflicts, although some improvement was observed as the pandemic receded.

The overall increase in liveability scores can be attributed to a return to relative normality following the pandemic. The average index score across the 172 cities in the survey (excluding Kiev) reached 76.2 out of 100, the highest in 15 years. Healthcare scores saw the most improvement, followed by gains in education, culture and environment, and infrastructure. However, stability scores experienced a small decline, reflecting concerns about corruption, civil unrest, and an increase in crime in certain cities.

Vienna’s consistent reign as the most liveable city reflects its ability to combine stability, strong infrastructure, excellent education and healthcare services according to the report. Although Western European cities faced some setbacks, the overall trend shows improvements across all regions, including Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. As the world’s political and economic axis shifts eastward, cities in these regions are expected to gradually climb up the liveability rankings.

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The decline in stability ratings across various cities poses a risk to their liveability. Civil unrest, strikes and protests have impacted stability scores in several places. Factors such as inflation, working conditions, shortages of goods, and dissatisfaction with government policies have fueled social discontent.

While stability scores have only slightly declined overall, ongoing issues such as high commodity prices, supply-chain disruptions, food price hikes, and currency weakness against the US dollar may contribute to continued unrest in 2023 according to the report’s findings.

[Read more: Most liveable city: How Vienna earned its place in housing history]

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