Lifestyle

The Ten Best Cities To Live In Around The World

Never in the history of mankind has the world been more accessible than it is now. Choosing where to live and work is no longer a question of where to move to in your own country, but rather which country to pick and from there, where to make your home.

There are of course many factors to consider, whether you’re just going to travel and experience a new place temporarily or whether you’re setting up permanently, whether you’re single or with family in tow, whether you’re moving into a new job or living the digital nomad lifestyle. Which is why the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Liveability Index 2022 is a particularly handy resource to give you some data-based evidence to work from.

The best places to live in the world

The annual EIU report provides a ranking of the best places to live in the world – 173 cities scored across five broad categories and ranked according to stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. The survey “quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle in 173 cities worldwide and provides a profile for each city” and the EIU has pedigree with more than 70 years of experience investigating and reporting on the “phenomenon of globalization.”

Overall, 2022 has seen a sharp rise in the Liveability Index following two years dominated by Covid-19 restrictions that saw a drop in the quality of living globally. But this year has seen scores for culture and environment, healthcare, and education improve on the back of Covid-19 curbs being eased, although the global average score remains below pre-pandemic levels. Fortunes have varied for different countries, with cities in Australia and New Zealand in particular suffering from late Covid waves and lingering restrictions that have sent Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane, and Auckland and Wellington tumbling out of the top ten most liveable cities way down the list. An exception to this trend is Melbourne, long a top ranker that has held on to take tenth spot.

The ongoing war in Ukraine has of course affected the fortunes of many Eastern European cities with geopolitical risks dramatically affecting stability scores across the region.

Global Liveability Index 2022

Where then should you focus your sights in an effort to live somewhere great? From the top ten it’s clear that Western Europe and Canada are the dominant regions, with Osaka in Japan the sole Asian metropolis and no entries from South America or Africa (sadly, cities in Africa and Asia instead occupy the bottom ten entries in the Index). No cities in the US or UK make the top ten either.

10= Melbourne, Australia

Overall rating (out of 100): 95.1

Stability: 95

Healthcare: 83.3

Culture & Environment: 98.6

Education: 100

Infrastructure: 100

The only remaining top ten entry from Oceania, dropping two places from last year after an earlier run of seven years in the top spot, Melbourne remains one of the best places to live anywhere in the world. Great education and infrastructure make it a no-brainer for families, but it’s the city’s free wheeling spirit and culture that keeps attracting people to its sun-soaked streets.

10= Osaka, Japan

Overall rating: 95.1

Stability: 100

Healthcare: 100

Culture and environment: 83.1

Education: 100

Infrastructure: 96.4

The sole top ten entry from Asia is Japan’s third city – a mega metropolis and one of the most stable and safe places to live anywhere, with full marks in stability, healthcare, and education. One of Japan’s most liberal cities that offers a glimpse past the traditional conservatism of Japanese culture, its neon-flooded streets are also home to some of Japan’s best food. ‘Kuidaore!’ as the Japanese say – ‘eat until you drop’!

9. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Overall rating: 95.3

Stability: 90

Healthcare: 100

Culture and environment: 97.2

Education: 91.7

Infrastructure: 96.4

Our first stop in Europe sees us floating down the canals of Amsterdam, past higgledy-piggledy houses and cobbled streets into what has for more than a decade been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s easy to see why. Mix in a rock-solid healthcare system and an extraordinary array of cultural activities that cross the spectrum from sex museums and weed-infused coffee shops to world-class museums overflowing with Van Goghs and you have yourself the ninth best city to call home in the world.

8. Toronto, Canada

Overall rating: 95.4

Stability: 95

Healthcare: 100

Culture and environment: 95.4

Education: 100

Infrastructure: 89.3

Our first foray into North America finds us in cosmopolitan Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, where education and healthcare are rightly renowned for their excellence. Beyond this, it’s the city’s extraordinarily multicultural population that really makes it shine – foods, languages, events and customs come together to create a heady, cultured and welcoming atmosphere that makes it a logical place to relocate to.

7. Frankfurt, Germany

Overall rating: 95.7

Stability: 90

Healthcare: 100

Culture and environment: 96.3

Education: 91.7

Infrastructure: 100

Germany’s financial hub has jumped a formidable 32 places from last year’s Index, taking seventh spot in 2022. Frankfurt-am-Main’s excellent healthcare and infrastructure are a given (this is Germany, after all) as is the growing expat population drawn by high paying jobs in the financial sector, dubbed ‘Mainhattan’ for its cluster of steel, concrete and glass skyscrapers. But its charm lies in the marriage of this modernity to the Old Town and its traditional, regional roots complemented by an outside-living approach to life in the many parks, squares, gardens and paths that follow the river through the heart of the city.

6. Geneva, Switzerland

Overall rating: 95.9

Stability: 95

Healthcare: 100

Culture & Environment: 94.9

Education: 91.7

Infrastructure: 96.4

A hop across the border to the south takes us to number six and Switzerland’s first entry, Geneva. Perched on the fringes of Europe’s largest lake (and one of its most spectacular), Geneva is as international as a city gets – home as it is to among many others the World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, International Committee of the Red Cross, and the second-largest branches of the United Nations and World Bank. Scoring in the nineties across the board, even Switzerland’s eye-watering prices don’t deter international visitors flocking to its streets – there’s even a thriving counterculture to balance all the big business, if you know who to ask.

5. Vancouver

Overall rating: 96.1

Stability: 90

Healthcare: 100

Culture & Environment: 100

Education: 100

Infrastructure: 92.9

Our second stop in Canada takes us this time to the west coast and Vancouver, a city not short of beauty, style, culture or natural wonders. Famous for the liberal, laid back yet active approach to life of its multinational citizens, Vancouver is Canada’s dine-out capital, squeezing the best foods of the world into its surprisingly compact urban sprawl. As in Toronto, it scores top marks for healthcare and education but also adds culture and environment thanks to its mountainous and oceanic neighbors and bounty of fantastic attractions and events.

3= Calgary, Canada

Overall rating: 96.3

Stability: 95

Healthcare: 100

Culture & Environment: 90

Education: 100

Infrastructure: 100

In third equal position is yet another Canadian hotspot. Calgary in Alberta sits so close to the Rockies you can smell the snow amid the slow-roast coffees drifting from its hipster coffee shops and bars. Another heady mix of city and nature (Banff National Park and the unbelievable Lake Louise are nearby), indoor and outdoor living, Calgary is also a notoriously easy place to exist thanks to its excellent infrastructure. While not necessarily the first place that springs to mind as a city to move to, its global status is reflected as previous host of the Winter Olympics and current host of the famed Calgary Stampede, and through its election of North America’s first Muslim mayor.

3=. Zürich, Switzerland

Overall rating: 96.3

Stability: 95

Healthcare: 100

Culture & Environment: 96.3

Education: 91.7

Infrastructure: 96.4

Often mistaken as Switzerland’s capital (that’s actually Bern), Zürich is its largest and wealthiest city, meaning it attracts people from all over the world looking to live a better life. Once they arrive, most quickly discover the city’s true appeal – yes, it’s efficient, clean and well run but scratch a little below the surface and you’ll discover a post-industrial cauldron of young and old creatives treading its winding streets, venturing into the surrounding mountains and lakes in search of adventure, bringing new ideas to life, and buzzing with the opporunities of what may be thanks to its ‘anything is possible’ atmosphere. Commuting to work by floating down the Limmat River is also a great way to start each day!

2. Copenhagen, Denmark

Overall rating: 98

Stability: 100

Healthcare: 95.8

Culture & Environment: 95.4

Education: 100

Infrastructure: 100

Firmly rooted as we now are in Europe, runner-up spot goes to beautiful Copenhagen in Denmark, famed for its world-leading restaurants (currently number one rated is Geranium), the warmth of its residents and its ultra bike-friendly culture that sees streets teeming with two rather than four-wheeled rides. Although rightly renowned for being expensive, it also offers plenty to do for all budgets, whether it’s taking in the vintage attractions of Tivoli Gardens or dropping off the grid in Christiania, a bohemian community that lives by its own laws within the city limits. The benefits of Denmark’s historically great education, healthcare, and political stability only add to its appeal.

1. Vienna, Austria

Overall rating: 99.1

Stability: 100

Healthcare: 100

Culture & Environment: 96.3

Education: 100

Infrastructure: 100

A previous winner as the world’s most liveable city in 2018 and 2019, historic and gorgeous Vienna has returned to number one after a brief hiatus out of the top ten thanks to its Covid-related restrictions during the pandemic. Scoring top marks in every category bar one, it’s easy to see why Vienna is the world’s most liveable city. Among its Baroque streets and deeply historic and atmospheric palaces and parks, it is a leading light on the global cultural scene – artists and musicians modern and classical pour from galleries, theaters and opera houses. Equally, its culinary scene is as vibrant as any, fusing the best foods from around the world with its own unique delicacies. But what sets it apart from its European neighbors on this list is the governmental approach to living with great infrastructure and housing that makes it far, far cheaper to live in than Zürich or Copenhagen (or indeed anywhere else on this Index) with no drop in living standards. The perfect city then – or as good as it gets for 2022 at least.

You can read the full EIU Liveability Index including methodology of how it was put together here.

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