The cities in South Africa that offer the best quality of life

When compared to cities globally, Cape Town stands out as offering the best quality of life in South Africa.

This is according to Numbeo’s quality of life index, which assesses¬† a number of factors that impact the lifestyle of a city’s residents – from the cost of living (and purchasing power), to safety and security, healthcare and pollution.

In the mainline global ranking, four South African cities are ranked, with enough comparable data to be judged among other major global cities.

Here, Cape Town is ranked number one in the country, offering the best quality of life – also ranking 123rd overall, with an index score of 148.40.

Cape Town is followed by Durban (133rd), then Pretoria (147th) and finally Johannesburg (152nd).

Globally, South Africa ranks 40th out of 71 countries measured, pointing to a middling quality of life, when compared to other countries.

Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Switzerland and Finland top the ranking, offering the highest quality of life – while nations like Iran, Egypt and Kazakhstan are the bottom of the rankings.

South African cities

However, looking at more localised data, several other cities not included in the global ranking have enough information to formulate a local ranking – where Cape Town sinks down to fourth, below its coastal cousins: George, Knysna and Port Elizabeth.

George offers the overall highest quality of life, Numbeo’s data shows, with the highest safety rating, a good climate, a relatively affordable cost of living, low traffic and low levels of pollution.

This is in stark contrast to the lowest quality of life among the South African cities ranked – Vanderbijlpark – which has the lowest safety rating, the worst healthcare rating, and one of the highest pollution ratings.

The table below outlines how the South African cities scores in each quality of life category, and their overall score.

Reading the numbers above, for purchasing power, safety, healthcare and climate, the higher the number, the better the score – for cost of living, property to income, traffic and pollution, the opposite is true.

Across all the South African cities assessed, in general safety levels are poor, but purchasing power is quite strong – while the climate stands out as being quite pleasant.

Numbeo’s data relies on user-submitted information, which is supplemented with other external data. The group’s data is used to compile the Deutsche Bank’s Cost of Living report, as well as in other research reports.

Where not enough data is available to make a comparison, Numbeo does not give that city a score, and has been excluded.


Read: The most expensive cities in South Africa in 2019: Joburg vs Cape Town vs Pretoria

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The cities in South Africa that offer the best quality of life