The world’s most and least liveable cities

Australia is home to the most top liveable cities in the world, according to a new report and ranking by the Economist’s Intelligence Unit.

The report shows that over the past five years, global liveability has declined by 0.68 percentage points, driven by heightened economic unrest across the world.

However, for the top-tier of cities, there has been no change in liveablity over the past year.

Melbourne remains the most liveable location of the 140 cities surveyed, followed by the Austrian capital, Vienna.

Vancouver, which was the most liveable city surveyed until 2011, lies in third place, the report said.

“Over the past six months only nine cities of 140 surveyed have experienced changes in scores and only 20 cities (14% of those surveyed) have seen changes over the past year,” the Intelligence Unit said.

“Over half of the changes taking place over the past 12 months have been driven by deteriorating scores, with instability re-emerging as a key factor in influencing global scores.”

Top 10 cities

# City Score
1 Melbourne, Australia 97.5
2 Vienna, Austria 97.4
3 Vancouver, Canada 97.3
4 Toronto, Canada 97.2
5 Adelaide, Australia 96.6
5 Calgary, Canada 96.6
7 Sydney, Australia 96.1
8 Helsinki, Finland 96.0
9 Perth, Australia 95.9
10 Auckland, New Zealand 95.7

On the lower end of the scale, conflict is responsible for many of the lowest scores, with the Middle East, Africa and Asia accounting for all 13 cities scoring under 50%.

Violence, whether through crime, civil insurgency, terrorism or war, played a strong role in these cities’ rankings, the report said.

No South African cities were recorded in the top or bottom ten, but neighbouring Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, was ranked amongst the least liveable cities in the world.

“A period of relative stability in Zimbabwe has put Harare on an upward trend in terms of liveability, although the city remains in the very bottom tier of liveability.”

The survey does not include locations such as Kabul in Afghanistan and Baghdad in Iraq, the report noted, as these cities are not seen as places people would want to visit.

Bottom 10 cities

# City Score
131 Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire 45.9
132 Tripoli, Libya 44.2
133 Douala, Cameroon 44.0
134 Harare, Zimbabwe 42.6
135 Algiers, Algeria 40.9
135 Karachi, Pakistan 40.9
137 Lagos, Nigeria 38.9
137 Port Moresby, PNG 38.9
139 Dhaka, Bangladesh 38.7
140 Damascus, Syria 30.5


The unit assessed which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions, 30 qualitative and quantitative factors.

These factors are split and weighted across five broad categories: stability (25%); healthcare (20%); culture and environment (25%); education (10%); and infrastructure (20%).

The rating is awarded based on the judgment of in-house analysts and in-city contributors, and calculated based on the relative performance of a number of external data points.

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The world’s most and least liveable cities