Ranking: the most and least livable cities in 2022
Pandemic restrictions have changed the livability of many urban centers around the world as cultural sites have been closed, meals in restaurants have been restricted and local economies have faced the consequences. But as cities around the world return to the status quo, many of these urban centers have become desirable places to live once again.
This map uses the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) annual rankings to show the most liveable cities in the world, measuring different categories including: stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.
A brief note on the methodology
The ranking attempts to assess which cities around the world offer the best living conditions, scoring 30 quantitative and qualitative measures in the five categories with the following weightings:
- Healthcare (20%)
- Culture and environment (25%)
- Stability (25%)
- Education (10%)
- Infrastructure (20%)
Of the 30 factors within these categories, the qualitative ones are classified as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable, or intolerable by a team of experienced analysts. Quantitative measures are scored based on a number of external data points. Everything is then weighted to give a score between 1 and 100, where 100 is ideal.
Ranking: the 10 most liveable cities
Of the 172 cities included in the rankings, many of the most liveable cities are in Europe. However, three of the top 10 are located in Canada: Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.
Vienna has been ranked number one many times, most recently in 2019. According to the EIU, the Austrian capital only came out of the top spot during the pandemic years because its famous museums and restaurants were closed.
|# 1||Vienna||🇦🇹 Austria||99.1|
|# 3||Zurich||🇨🇭 Switzerland||96.3|
|# 3||Calgary||🇨🇦 Canada||96.3|
|# 5||Vancouver||🇨🇦 Canada||96.1|
|# 6||Geneva||🇨🇭 Switzerland||95.9|
|# 7||Frankfurt||🇩🇪 Germany||95.7|
|# 8||Toronto||🇨🇦 Canada||95.4|
|# 9||Amsterdam||🇳🇱 Netherlands||95.3|
|# 10||Ōsaka||🇯🇵 Japan||95.1|
|# 10||Melbourne||🇦🇺 Australia||95.1|
Only one Asian city, Osaka, is in the top 10, tied with Melbourne for 10th place. In particular, not a single city in the United States is in the top ranks.
Editor’s note: two cities are tied for both position no. 3 and for that no. 10, which means that the “top 10” list actually includes 12 cities.
Ranked: the 10 least livable cities
Some of the least livable cities in the world are found in Africa and Central Asia.
|# 163||Tehran||🇮🇷 Iran||44.0|
|# 164||Douala||🇨🇲 Cameroon||43.3|
|# 165||Harare||🇿🇼 Zimbabwe||40.9|
|# 166||Dhaka||🇧🇩 Bangladesh||39.2|
|# 167||Port Moresby||🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||38.8|
|# 168||Karachi||🇵🇰 Pakistan||37.5|
|# 169||Algiers||🇩🇿 Algeria||37.0|
|# 170||Tripoli||🇱🇾 Libya||34.2|
|# 171||Lagos||🇳🇬 Nigeria||32.2|
|# 172||Damascus||🇸🇾 Syria||30.7|
Many of the less livable cities are located within conflict zones, contributing to low ratings. However, these regions are also home to some of the fastest growing cities in the world, offering plenty of opportunities for ambitious residents.
The biggest changes in the ranking
Let’s take a look at the cities that have climbed the global rankings more dramatically than last year’s figures.
Going up: the 10 most improved cities
|City||Village||Overall score||Change of rank|
|Frankfurt||🇩🇪 Germany||# 7||+32|
|Hamburg||🇩🇪 Germany||# 16||+31|
|Dusseldorf||🇩🇪 Germany||# 22||+28|
|London||🇮🇹 United Kingdom||# 33||+27|
|Manchester||🇮🇹 United Kingdom||# 28||+26|
|Paris||🇫🇷 France||# 19||+23|
|Brussels||🇧🇪 Belgium||# 24||+22|
|Amsterdam||🇳🇱 Netherlands||# 9||+21|
|Athens||🇮🇷 Greece||# 73||+19|
|Los Angeles||🇮🇹 US||# 37||+18|
Let’s take a look at the cities that have fallen the most in the rankings since last year’s report.
Going down: the 10 cities that have fallen
|City||Village||Overall score||Change of rank|
|Wellington||🇳🇿 New Zealand||# 50||-46|
|Auckland||🇳🇿 New Zealand||# 34||-33|
|Adelaide||🇦🇺 Australia||# 30||-27|
|Perth||🇦🇺 Australia||# 32||-26|
|Houston||🇮🇹 US||# 56||-25|
|Reykjavik||🇮🇸 Iceland||# 48||-25|
|Madrid||🇪🇸 Spain||# 43||-24|
|Taipei||🇹🇼 Taiwan||# 53||-20|
|Barcelona||🇪🇸 Spain||# 35||-19|
|Brisbane||🇦🇺 Australia||# 27||-17|
According to the report, a number of cities in New Zealand and Australia have temporarily dropped in the rankings due to COVID-19 restrictions.
It is also worth noting that some Eastern European cities fell in the rankings due to their proximity to the war in Ukraine. Finally, Kiev was not included in this year’s report due to the conflict.
Urbanization and livability
Starting in 2021, approx 57% of the world’s population lives in urban centers and projections show that people around the world will continue to move to cities.
Although there are more services in urban areas, the pandemic has revealed many problems with urbanization and the concentration of large populations. Stress on health systems is felt most intensely in cities and restrictions on public exits are some of the first measures to be introduced in the face of a global health crisis.
Now, with the cost of living rising, cities could be under pressure on quality of life and governments could be forced to cut spending on public services. Regardless, people around the world continue to see the benefits of city living – more than two-thirds of the world’s population is projected to be living in cities by 2050.