Singapore tops rankings again for most liveable city for Asian expats

Singapore's low crime rates, easy access to good-quality schools and healthcare, together with lower levels of pollution than other regional locations, helped it retain its spot as the world's most liveable city for Asian expatriates.
Singapore's low crime rates, easy access to good-quality schools and healthcare, together with lower levels of pollution than other regional locations, helped it retain its spot as the world's most liveable city for Asian expatriates.PHOTO: REUTERS

A combination of factors has once again worked its magic to keep Singapore on a league table that ranks 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 country take top spot for the second year running, said Mr Lee Quane, regional director for Asia at data company ECA International, which compiles the rankings.

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 more than 480 locations around the world.

Brisbane took second place, with fellow Australian cities Adelaide and Sydney and Japan's Osaka in joint third.

Mr Quane noted that Japanese cities are consistently among the best locations for Asian expatriates.

"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.

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

Beijing dropped 10 places to 134th, falling with most 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, shared jointly with Canberra and Yokohama, ahead of London at 67th and New York at 82nd.

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 their size, Mr Quane said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore tops rankings again for most liveable city for Asian expats'. Print Edition | Subscribe