Asian cities rise up the ranks in EIU’s Global Liveability Index

Asian cities rise up the ranks in EIU’s Global Liveability Index

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM –This year’s edition of EIU’s Global Liveability Index finds that the average index score across 172 (excluding Kiev) cities has reached 76.2 out of 100, an improvement from the score of 73.2 a year ago. This is the highest score the index has registered in 15 years.

Healthcare scores saw the greatest improvement, with smaller gains for education, culture and entertainment, and infrastructure. Stability was the only category that has seen a marginal decline, reflecting instances of civil unrest in many cities amid a cost-of-living crisis, as well as an uptick in crime in some cities.

Asia-Pacific cities have made some of the biggest gains in 2023, accounting for eight of the top ten movers up the rankings as economies recovered from the pandemic. Wellington (New Zealand) soared by 35 places to 23rd place, and Auckland (New Zealand) rose by 25 places to 10th place.

This follows last year’s rankings that saw the New Zealand cities taking a big tumble, as a result of forced intermittent lockdowns amid covid waves. Meanwhile, Hanoi (Vietnam) was another notable city that moved up the 2023 rankings, rising 20 spots to 129, on the back of the lifting of covid restrictions.

Melbourne and Sydney (Australia), which are now in third and fourth place, have moved up to fill spots claimed last year by western European cities such as Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

The Australian cities have seen their scores in the healthcare category improve since last year, when they were still affected by covid waves that stressed their healthcare systems. Hong Kong also moved up by 13 spots with a marked improvement in its healthcare score compared with March last year, when its healthcare infrastructure was under severe stress from the pandemic.

Osaka (Japan) has managed to hold on to its position at 10th place, helped by the removal of restrictions on social and recreational activities since March 2022, which has boosted its scores for culture and environment.

Most Chinese cities are broadly stable in the rankings compared with last year, but in our interim survey in September/October, they fell sharply amid waves of covid-related lockdowns. Their positions in the 2023 ranking represent a return to near-normality after the lifting of zero-covid policies.

Upasana Dutt, Head of Liveability Index at EIU said: “The shift towards normality after the pandemic has overall boded well for global liveability in 2023. Education has emerged stronger with children returning to schools alongside a significantly reduced burden on hospitals and healthcare systems, with some notable improvements in cities across developing economies of Asia and the Middle East. As the world’s political and economic axis continues to shift eastwards, we expect the cities in these regions to move slowly up our liveability rankings.

Our survey has recorded the highest score in 15 years, but there is a need for caution. Of the five categories covered by our liveability index, only stability has seen a decline in its ratings since last year. In many cities, stability scores have fallen because of greater civil unrest. Elsewhere, inflation, dissatisfaction with working conditions and occasional shortages of goods have sparked wage strikes and protests. Strains on public order and economic headwinds have also increased instances of crime in some cities. These will continue to be a risk for the future, with much of the economic and socio-political headwinds likely to continue into 2024. All of this suggests that stability scores in our Liveability Index are unlikely to recover quickly.”

In general, western European cities have fallen down the rankings, with their scores stable as others improve. However, Vienna is once again the most liveable city in the world, for the eighth time in the past ten semi-annual surveys.

The Austrian capital slipped in the rankings in 2021, during the pandemic, but rebounded to the top position in 2022. It retained its crown this year, thanks to its unsurpassed combination of stability, good infrastructure, strong education and healthcare services, and plenty of culture and entertainment. Similar attractions helped Copenhagen (Denmark) retain its position in second place from last year.

European cities dominate the list of the top ten movers down the rankings, which also includes two US cities–San Diego and Los Angeles. Edinburgh (UK), which entered our liveability survey for the first time in 2022 in a respectable 35th position, has now tumbled to 58th, while the US cities of Los Angeles and San Diego both fell by 17 places. All of these cities have not seen a particularly sharp decline in their index scores, but they have failed to make the gains that many other cities – particularly those in Asia – have made in the past year. As a result, they have been overtaken in the rankings.

Kiev is back in our survey, having been forced out by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Our survey therefore now covers 173 cities, after we expanded our coverage from 140 cities in 2022. However, Kiev’s score has fallen by 5.9 percentage points since 2021 due to the damage the war has done to its stability, infrastructure and general liveability. It has now become one of the bottom ten cities in our liveability index.

Damascus (Syria) and Tripoli (Libya) are still at the bottom of the list, held back by social unrest, terrorism and conflict. However, while Damascus has seen no improvement since last year, scores for Tripoli and other cities in the bottom ten have improved as the pandemic recedes.


Regional round-up (172 cities*): average regional performance
RegionAverage RatingStabilityHealthcareCulture & EnvironmentEducationInfrastructure
Asia & Australasia73.576.573.866.980.774.1
North America90.684.492.790.099.792.4
Western Europe92.388.395.091.996.492.8
Eastern Europe72.972.772.471.280.172.2
Latin America67.258.468.074.479.462.5
Middle East & North Africa61.461.164.452.173.264.6
Sub-Saharan Africa53.848.345.464.862.051.0
World average76.274.377.074.184.376.4
*The scores do not include Kiev (Ukraine).
Source: EIU.


The most liveable cities in the world
CityLocationRankIndexStabilityHealthcareCulture & EnvironmentEducationInfrastructure
AucklandNew Zealand1096.095.095.897.9100.092.9
Source: EIU


The most liveable cities in Asia


CityLocationRankIndexStabilityHealthcareCulture & EnvironmentEducationInfrastructure
AucklandNew Zealand1096.095.095.897.9100.092.9

Global Liveability Index 2023

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