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Liveable doesn’t mean loveable

When the bright lights of New York or the cultural-hub that is London-town gets ranked lower than Melbourne or Adelaide, what does the world's 'liveability' ranking actually mean?

When the bright lights of New York or the cultural-hub that is London-town gets ranked lower than Melbourne or Adelaide, what does the world’s ‘liveability’ ranking actually mean?

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest “liveability” ranking released earlier this week shows which cities are best to call home, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most vibrant or exciting.

The rankings are intended to measure the relative comfort of 140 cities where expat executives might conceivably find themselves living or visiting, according to Skift – which immediately excludes conflict hot spots such as Baghdad and Kabul.

Accordingly, companies use the results to calculate the “hardship” value and works out allowances to send employees to work there.

Therefore, “what’s “liveable” isn’t necessarily the same as what’s the most vibrant or exciting (which might come with some element of danger or inconvenience),” Skift explains.

Hence why the big, bright lights of New York or the rapid pace of crowded London ranks quite low in the list – 55th and 56th respectively.

“All suffer from higher levels of crime, congestion and public transport problems than would be deemed comfortable,” the EIU said.

Following suit from previous editions of the rankings, Australian cities usually get a good deal, as does Canadian hubs. This year Melbourne took out the top spot for the fourth year in a row, and being sparsely populated –  actually, fits in well with EIU’s methodology, skfit explains.

“They foster a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure.”

Vienna, Helsinki, and Auckland are also listed aside from other Australian and Canadian cities in the top 10.

In fact, every one of the top 64 cities scores high enough for a place in the top tier of liveability, and “should be considered broadly comparable,” according to the EIU.

“The research firm suggests that no extra payment should be needed to entice an expat moving to any of these cities, from Melbourne in first place to Santiago, Chile in 64th. By contrast, at least 20% of salary is recommended as a hardship allowance for expats dispatched to cities in the bottom tier, including Harare, Karachi, or Damascus,” Skift reports.

With the margin between Melbourne in first spot and New York in 56th place is relatively small (10.9 percentage points on a 100-point scale), what’s compelling according to Skift is the report’s “definitive ranking of cities”.

The list of most liveable cities in the world according to EIU:

  1. Melbourne
  2. Vienna
  3. Vancouver
  4. Toronto
  5. Adelaide
  6. Calgary
  7. Sydney
  8. Helsinki
  9. Perth
  10. Auckland
  11. Zurich
  12. Geneva
  13. Osaka
  14. Hamburg
  15. Stockholm
  16. Montreal
  17. Paris
  18. Frankfurt
  19. Tokyo
  20. Brisbane
  21. Berlin
  22. Copenhagen
  23. Wellington
  24. Oslo
  25. Luxembourg
  26. Amsterdam
  27. Honolulu
  28. Brussels
  29. Munich
  30. Pittsburgh
  31. Hong Kong
  32. Dusseldorf
  33. Lyon
  34. Barcelona
  35. Washington DC
  36. Atlanta
  37. Chicago
  38. Miami
  39. Detroit
  40. Boston
  41. Seattle
  42. Los Angeles
  43. Minneapolis
  44. Madrid
  45. Cleveland
  46. Dublin
  47. Houston
  48. Milan
  49. Rome
  50. Budapest
  51. Manchester
  52. San Francisco
  53. Singapore
  54. Reykjavik
  55. London
  56. New York

Do you think the Liveability Rankings are spot on?