Vienna pips Melbourne as most liveable city

Vienna (above) and Melbourne scored full marks in healthcare, education and infrastructure. The reduced terror threat in Europe and Vienna's low crime rate nudged the city to the top.
Vienna (above) and Melbourne scored full marks in healthcare, education and infrastructure. The reduced terror threat in Europe and Vienna's low crime rate nudged the city to the top.PHOTO: REUTERS

S'pore drops two places to No. 37 as HK jumps 10 notches to 35th spot in EIU index

VIENNA • Vienna has dislodged Melbourne for the first time at the top of the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Global Liveability Index, strengthening the Austrian capital's claim to being the world's most pleasant city to live in.

The two metropolises have been neck and neck in the annual survey of 140 urban centres for years, with Melbourne clinching the title for the past seven editions.

This year, a downgraded threat of militant attacks in western Europe as well as the city's low crime rate helped nudge Vienna into first place. It is the first time a European metropolis has topped the annual chart.

Each year, 140 cities are given scores out of 100 on a range of factors such as living standards, crime, transport infrastructure, and access to education and healthcare, as well as political and economic stability.

In Asia, Osaka and Tokyo moved up the ranks to join EIU's top 10 most liveable cities, coming in third and seventh place respectively.

Singapore is the 11th most liveable city in Asia, but fell two places to 37th spot overall, while Hong Kong climbed from 45th to 35th spot overall. Singapore had overtaken Hong Kong for the first time last year.

Hong Kong surpassed Singapore this year with only a marginal difference in score of 0.1 per cent overall, said The Economist in a press released issued yesterday.


  • 1. Vienna, Austria

    2. Melbourne, Australia

    3. Osaka, Japan

    4. Calgary, Canada

    5. Sydney, Australia

    6. Vancouver, Canada

    7. Toronto, Canada (tie)

    7. Tokyo, Japan (tie)

    9. Copenhagen, Denmark

    10. Adelaide, Australia

    37. Singapore


    1. Dakar, Senegal

    2. Algiers, Algeria

    3. Douala, Cameroon

    4. Tripoli, Libya

    5. Harare, Zimbabwe

    6. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

    7. Karachi, Pakistan

    8. Lagos, Nigeria

    9. Dhaka, Bangladesh

    10. Damascus, Syria


Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reported that the city's better score this year was due to lower levels of social unrest four years after the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement rocked the city.

Singapore boasted the highest possible score in the public heathcare category. "Healthcare facilities in Singapore are among the best in the world, and in recent years health expenditure as a percentage of GDP has been rising," said Ms Nikita Sisaudia, an urban data researcher at the EIU.

The island republic also delivered a perfect score in education and infrastructure. "The city state also has a highly efficient public transportation system, one of the best airports in the world, as well as high quality physical and digital infrastructure," said Ms Sisaudia.

At the other end of the table, Damascus retained last place, followed by Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, and Lagos in Nigeria.

"While in the past couple of years cities in Europe were affected by the spreading perceived threat of terrorism in the region, which caused heightened security measures, the past year has seen a return to normalcy," the EIU said.

Vienna and Melbourne scored maximum points in the healthcare, education and infrastructure categories. But while Melbourne led in the culture and environment component, that was outweighed by Vienna's improved stability ranking.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2018, with the headline 'Vienna pips Melbourne as most liveable city'. Print Edition | Subscribe