Australian Cities Have Fallen Down the Global Liveability List, Here’s Why

Australian Cities Have Fallen Down the Global Liveability List, Here’s Why
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Every city has its pros and cons and Australia is no stranger to that debate. You don’t have to go far to find someone with an opinion on whether Sydney or Melbourne is the best. But are either of them actually the most liveable city?

The Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released its Global Liveability Index for 2022, which has crowned the most liveable cities in the world. Australian cities have typically ranked quite highly in the past, but this is the first time the study has taken into account the challenges of the pandemic.

So which cities are considered the most liveable?

The most liveable cities in the world

The EIU ranked the top ten most liveable cities as follows:

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. Zurich, Switzerland
  4. Calgary, Canada
  5. Vancouver, Canada
  6. Geneva, Switzerland
  7. Frankfurt, Germany
  8. Toronto, Canada
  9. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  10. Osaka, Japan and Melbourne, Australia (tied)

While Melbourne has topped this list in the past, the EIU report said the pandemic had a large part to do with its fall down the ranks.

“Cities in New Zealand and Australia are listed among the biggest fallers in our rankings”, the report reads.

“Both countries benefited in early 2021, when COVID vaccines were scarce: their closed borders kept cases down, keeping liveability high. Auckland actually came top of the early 2021 survey.”

“However, this changed as a more infectious COVID-19 wave struck in late 2021, which made closed borders less of a defence.”

“In Australia, some states were slower to lift restrictions than others. As a result, Perth and Adelaide have lost ground since last year, and Melbourne is once again Australia’s highest-ranked city.”

Seeing as Melbourne had some of the longest continuous lockdowns in the world, it’s not really surprising this measure resulted in a drop.

On the whole, the EIU’s report said Western European and Canadian cities fared well this year due to life being almost back to normal in these areas after the pandemic. A combination of high vaccination rates and easing COVID-19 restrictions have helped achieve this.

How are the rankings decided?

So what determines whether a city is ‘liveable’?

The EIU uses a number of qualitative indicators across five categories for each city: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Each factor is given a score of acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable. These ratings are given by a team of expert analysts and in-city contributors.

You can take a closer look at all the indicative factors that are judged in the EIU’s report.

Australian cities have typically fared very well on the liveability index, but clearly, COVID has hit our ratings harder than most – despite our lower death rate.

Now that restrictions have mostly eased, perhaps we’ll see more Australian cities claw their way back up the liveability scale next year?

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