The most and least ‘liveable’ cities in the world in 2017

The Economist’s Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released its annual Liveable Cities ranking, listing the ten most and least liveable cities in the world.

The concept of liveability is to assess which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions.

Assessing liveability has a broad range of uses, from benchmarking perceptions of development levels to assigning a hardship allowance as part of expatriate relocation packages, the EIU said.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability rating quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle in any given location, and allows for direct comparison between locations.

As was the case in 2016, global terrorism has kept the world on shaky ground, and has impacted the liveability in places like France and the UK, where attacks have taken place. Iraq, Libya, Syria and Turkey remain the subject of high-profile civil unrest and armed conflicts, while a number of other countries, such as Nigeria, continue to battle insurgent groups.

For the seventh consecutive year, Melbourne in Australia is the most liveable urban centre of the 140 cities surveyed, closely followed by the Austrian capital, Vienna – separated by only 0.1 percentage points.

Just 0.2 and 0.3 percentage points separate Canada’s Vancouver and Toronto (ranked 3rd and 4th, respectively), from Melbourne, and another Canadian city, Calgary, shares joint fifth place with Adelaide in Australia.

On the bottom end of the ranking are countries that have also long featured on the list for the wrong reasons, with war-torn Damascus in Syria taking the bottom spot, just below Lagos, Nigeria, which has slipped to second-worst of the 140 cities ranked.

The top ten and bottom ten are virtually unchanged, with only a few countries in the bottom improving their scores slightly.

The 10 most and least liveable cities in the world in 2017

# City Country Score
1 Melbourne Australia 97.5
2 Vienna Austria 97.4
3 Vancouver Canada 97.3
4 Toronto Canada 97.2
5 Calgary Canada 96.6
5 Adelaide Australia 96.6
7 Perth Australia 95.9
8 Auckland New Zealand 95.7
9 Helsinki Finland 95.6
10 Hamburg Germany 95.0
131 Kiev Ukraine 47.8
132 Douala Cameroon 44.0
133 Harare Zimbabwe 42.6
134 Karachi Pakistan 40.9
134 Algiers Algeria 40.9
136 Port Moresby PNG 39.6
137 Dhaka Bangladesh 38.7
138 Tripoli Libya 36.6
139 Lagos Nigeria 36.0
140 Damascus Syria 30.2

Looking at Africa and South Africa, nine cities featured, but only the two South African cities were ranked within the top 100 – being Johannesburg (87th) and Pretoria (93rd).

African cities

  • 87 – Johannesburg
  • 93 – Pretoria
  • 120 – Nairobi
  • 124 – Lusaka
  • 129 – Abidjan
  • 130 – Dakar
  • 132 – Douala
  • 133 – Harare
  • 139 – Lagos

The rankings are determined by assigning every city a rating of relative comfort for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure.

Each factor in a city is rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable. For qualitative indicators, a rating is awarded based on the judgment of in-house analysts and in-city contributors.

For quantitative indicators, a rating is calculated based on the relative performance of a number of external data points, the EIU said.


Read: These pictures show how Cape Town looked in the 1940s compared to today

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The most and least ‘liveable’ cities in the world in 2017