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New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Switzerland have taken all top 10 spots on the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) latest annual ranking of the world’s most liveable cities.

The liveability index ranks cities across five critical categories: stability — which includes elements like threats of civil unrest and terror — health care, education, infrastructure — like the quality of water and energy provision —  and culture and environment, which details levels of censorship and corruption. 

Auckland, New Zealand, ranks in first place, followed by Osaka, Japan, and Adelaide, Australia. 

Wellington in New Zealand and Tokyo in Japan ranked in fourth and fifth place, respectively, while Australia’s Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane come in sixth, ninth and 10th place. Switzerland’s Zurich and Geneva take home spots No. 7 and 8.

Unlike previous surveys, the last of which was released in 2019, this year’s report strongly examines the impact of COVID-19.

The survey, collated between February and March 2021, said border closures, support for health workers and the pace of vaccine rollouts “drove significant changes in the rankings.” 

"Auckland, in New Zealand, is at the top of [the] ... rankings, owing to the city’s ability to contain the pandemic faster and thus lift restrictions earlier, unlike others around the world,” the report states. “Owing to border closures and a consequently low COVID-19 case count, New Zealand has been able to keep its theatres, restaurants and other cultural attractions open. Students have been able to continue going to school, giving Auckland a 100% score for education.”

The pandemic has severely impacted Melbourne's ranking, which previously took home first place for seven consecutive years.

Australia's second-largest city endured a total of six months of intense lockdown in 2020, from March to June and again from July to late October, which included severe stay-at-home orders and a five-kilometre, two-hour exercise radius. 

Other big movers include the United States' Honolulu, Houston, Miami, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Minneapolis and Boston, all which moved dozens of points up the rank. Germany's Hamburg, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf, meanwhile, are the three cities to move furthest down the line over the past six months. 

Alongside hosting some of the world’s most liveable cities, Asia is also home to some of the worst.

Dhaka, Bangladesh; Karachi, Pakistan; and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, rank 134th, 137th and 138th out of 140.

They sit alongside Caracas in Venezuela, Doula in Cameroon, Harare in Zimbabwe, Tripoli in Liya, Algiers in Algeria, Lagos in Nigeria and Damascus in Syria, ranked at the bottom due to the decade-long violent civil war between pro-democratic insurgents and the Assad regime. 

The Top 10 Most Liveable Cities:

1. Auckland, New Zealand

2. Osaka, Japan

3. Adelaide, Australia

4. Wellington, New Zealand

5. Tokyo, Japan

6. Perth, Australia

7. Zurich, Switzerland

8. Geneva, Switzerland

9. Melbourne, Australia

10. Brisbane, Australia

The Least 10 Most Liveable Cities: 

1. Caracas, Venezuela

2. Doula, Cameroon

3. Harare, Zimbabwe

4. Karachi, Pakistan

5. Tripoli, Libya

6. Algiers, Algeria

7. Dhaka, Bangladesh

8. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

9. Lagos, Nigeria

10. Damascus, Syria


Demand Equity

These Are the World's Top 10 Most Liveable Cities in 2021

By Madeleine Keck