Singapore is 'fourth most liveable city' in Asia

Singapore is the fourth most liveable city in Asia, according to the latest such ranking by The Economist magazine. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Singapore is the fourth most liveable city in Asia, according to the latest such ranking by The Economist magazine. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Singapore is the fourth most liveable city in Asia after Osaka, Tokyo and Hong Kong in the latest such ranking by The Economist magazine.

The Republic came in 52nd out of 140 cities in the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) latest Liveability Ranking. Hong Kong was ranked 31st.

The index, designed to help international firms work out how much to pay employees to live and work in a given city, ranks cities based on measures such as stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

The Australian city of Melbourne was tops for the fourth year in a row, with a score of 97.5 out of 100, while the war-torn Syrian city of Damascus was in last place with 30.5 points.

Four Australian and three Canadian cities made the top 10, along with Vienna in Austria, Helsinki in Finland and Auckland in New Zealand.

While the scores of the top cities did not change much, average liveability across the world has fallen by 0.68 per cent since 2009, "highlighting the fact that the last five years have been characterised by heightened unrest in the wake of the global economic crisis", the EIU said in its report.

Singapore, which was also ranked 52nd last year, had 88.7 points while Hong Kong had 92. It was rated the same as Hong Kong on stability and health care, ahead of it on infrastructure, and behind it on education and culture and environment.

Singapore's culture and environment score of 77 out of 100, taking into account humidity and temperature, discomfort of the climate to travellers, corruption, social or religious curbs, censorship and cultural availability, among others, was lowered by its humid climate, said EIU analyst Toby Iles.

It also lost marks on censorship, scoring a two (uncomfortable) on a scale of zero (intolerable) to four (acceptable), he said. The education score includes availability and quality of private schools.

A city's overall score of more than 80 means there are few challenges to living there, and employees posted there do not merit hardship pay.

"(Singapore's) score is 88.7 out of 100 and anything over 80 means there aren't really any significant challenges to living in that place," Mr Iles said.

Of the 140 cities, 64 scored more than 80. Just 13 fell in the bottom tier, with scores of 50 or less.

GRACE CHUA