Singapore tops rankings again for most liveable city for Asian expats: ECA survey

Low crime rates, easy access to good-quality schools and healthcare, together with lower levels of pollution than other regional locations helped Singapore take top spot for the second year running.
Low crime rates, easy access to good-quality schools and healthcare, together with lower levels of pollution than other regional locations helped Singapore take top spot for the second year running. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - A combination of factors has once again played in Singapore's favour to keep it atop ECA International's rankings for the most liveable city in the world for Asian expatriates.

Low crime rates, easy access to good quality schools and healthcare, together with lower levels of pollution than other regional locations helped the Republic take top spot for the second year running, said Mr Lee Quane, regional director for Asia at data company ECA International.

The survey evaluates climate, availability of health services, housing and utilities, isolation, access to a social network and leisure facilities, infrastructure, personal safety, political tensions and air quality in over 480 locations around the world, according to ECA.

Australian city Brisbane takes second place, with fellow Australian cities Adelaide and Sydney, and the Japanese city of Osaka, jointly in third place.

Mr Quane highlighted that Japanese cities are consistently among the best locations for Asian expatriates to relocate to.

"This is due to, among many things, the excellent facilities and infrastructure, as well as the prevalence of a range of goods and services. Tokyo especially has become increasingly attractive to expats and climbs into the top 10 this year," he said.

Financial centre Hong Kong treaded water at 28th, struggling with the twin problems of long-term air quality and pollution, which has kept it in the low position in the rankings, said Mr Quane.

On the mainland, Beijing dropped 10 places to 134th, falling with the majority of Chinese cities due to the increase in Internet censorship, and the ban on virtual private networks used by some to circumvent China's draconian policing of Internet content.

Closer to home, Kuala Lumpur took the 126th spot, sunk by high levels of pollution and petty crime.

The blow was softened by the Malaysian capital scoring well in categories such as utilities and the availability of housing.

Outside of Asia, Copenhagen led the way for European countries by taking 10th spot on the list, shared jointly with Canberra and Yokohama, ahead of London at 67th and 82nd-placed New York.

The low rankings of London and New York are due mainly to higher levels of crime and air pollution, which are expected for cities of this size, Mr Quane said.