In its 2019 “Global Liveability Index“, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has named Osaka 4th and Tokyo 7th in its ranking of the world’s 140 most livable cities. The Index examines over 30 different factors across five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.
Vienna Named Most Livable City
For the second year in a row, Vienna, with a near perfect score of 99.1 out of 100, was ranked the most livable city in the world. Melbourne was a close second with a score of 98.4. It had previously enjoyed a winning streak of seven consecutive years, until being knocked from first place by Vienna in 2018. Sydney was in third place with a score of 98.1.
Three cities in Canada made the Top 10 list: Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto.
This is the full Top 10 city ranking:
- Vienna, Austria
- Melbourne, Australia
- Sydney, Australia
- Osaka, Japan
- Calgary, Canada
- Vancouver, Canada
- (Tie for 7th) Toronto, Canada
- (Tie for 7th) Tokyo, Japan
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Adelaide, Australia
Osaka received perfect marks in three categories: stability, healthcare, and education. Tokyo also received perfect marks in the same three areas, but Osaka beat out Tokyo with a higher score in infrastructure.
Least livable cities
The EIU placed the following cities at the bottom of its list:
131. Caracas, Venezuela
132. Algiers, Algeria
133. Douala, Cameroon
134. Harare, Zimbabwe
135. Port Moresby, PNG
136. Karachi, Pakistan
137. Triopoli, Libya
138. Dhaka, Bangladesh
139. Lagos, Nigeria
140. Damascus, Syria
How cities were ranked
The EIU assigned each city a rating of relative comfort for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five main categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.
Each factor in a city was rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable. For qualitative indicators, a rating was awarded based on the judgment of in-house analysts and in-city contributors. For quantitative indicators, a rating was calculated based on the relative performance of a number of external data points.
- Stability (Weighted 25% of Total)
- Healthcare (20% of Total)
- Culture and entertainment (25% of Total)
- Education (10% of Total)
- Infrastructure (20% of Total)
Each main category was broken down into sub-categories, for example, sub-rankings for stability weighed: prevalence of petty crime, prevalence of violent crime, threat of terror, threat of military conflict, and threat of civil unrest/conflict.
In the Infrastructure category (where Osaka topped Tokyo), cities were evaluated based on:
- Quality of roadwork
- Quality of public transport
- Quality of international links
- Availability of good quality housing
- Quality of energy provision
- Quality of water provision
- Quality of telecommunications
The report complimented Tokyo (with a population of about 13.85 million in the strict administrative boundaries of the city and about 38 million in the greater metro area) for being able to scale up characteristics such as “well-funded public healthcare systems, compulsory and high-quality education, and functional road and rail infrastructure” despite its large size. The index is dominated by medium-sized cities in wealthy countries. However, the EIU also noted that wealthy, medium-sized cities tend to be magnets for crime and terrorism.
Also of note is that the EIU sees climate change as a global phenomenon, which threatens the livability of cities around the globe, including those at the top of the rankings. “Only a co-ordinated global effort to limit the rising temperature of the planet will succeed in maintaining current levels of liveability across the world.” (EIU)
Overall livability around the world has been improving in recent years, according to the report. In the EIU’s sample of global cities, the average livability score increased by 0.5 percentage points, to just under 76, over the past five years, driven primarily by higher scores in the stability category. However, “devastating terrorist attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka in the past year are a reminder that threats to security are still apparent, but perceptions of the danger posed by terrorism have diminished in recent years.”
You may also be interested in: Tokyo’s safest neighborhoods (ranked by crime statistics)
Lead photo: Osaka cityscape 2016, Wikimedia Commons