Vienna is named the world’s ‘most liveable city’ for second year running in Economist’s


The Austrian capital of Vienna has been ranked as the world’s ‘most liveable city’, while Copenhagen and Melbourne followed close behind in The Economist’s annual rankings.

The list was dominated by Western European, Australian and Canadian cities, with nine of the top ten spots (taken by 11 cities) in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2023 Global Liveability Index

Only two cities outside of Europe, Australia and Canada made it onto the list – Osaka in Japan and Auckland in New Zealand. The cities came in joint 10th place.

The Economist ranked 173 cities on a variety of factors, including political stability, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. 

Authors said the latest liveability index showed that living conditions in cities across the world have fully recovered from the deterioration caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Big cities like London, Los Angeles and Stockholm have dropped in the annual ratings, with London losing 12 ranks to move to 46th place, Los Angeles losing 17 positions to 57th in the ranking and Stockholm losing 22 to land on the 43rd rank. 

Kyiv is back in the annual survey after it was forced out last year due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the city ranks low in 165th place due to the instability and damaged infrastructure. 

Here, MailOnline takes a look at the top 10 ‘most liveable cities’: 

1. Vienna, Austria

Vienna, home to nearly two million people, topped the rankings in 2023 as the most liveable city with a score of 98.4 out of 100, as it did in 2022, 2019 and 2018.

With its mix of stability, good culture and entertainment, reliable infrastructure, and ‘exemplary’ education and health services, the Austrian city leads the ranking yet again, with only the Covid-19 pandemic causing the city to vacate its top spot.

Vienna is renowned for the glorious architecture of its imperial past with gilded palaces and decadent opera halls filled with classical music.

In addition to the stunning surroundings, it is known as ‘red Vienna’ for its left-wing tendencies and those who live there can expect good healthcare, stability, cheap public services and abundant social housing.

Vienna (pictured), home to nearly two million people, topped the rankings in 2023 as the most liveable city with a score of 98.4 out of 100, as it did in 2022, 2019 and 2018

Vienna (pictured), home to nearly two million people, topped the rankings in 2023 as the most liveable city with a score of 98.4 out of 100, as it did in 2022, 2019 and 2018

2. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen had another perfect score for infrastructure, education and stability in this year’s Global Liveability – and an overall score of 98, the same as in 2022.

The city has kept its second place due to a low crime rate, due to Copenhagen’s focus on preventative initiatives. 

Copenhagen has a population of 1.3 million people, which is only a slight growth since last year for Denmark’s capital city.

Denmark became the first European Union country to lift all of its domestic Covid restrictions – meaning those living in the country could go back to life as normal and enjoy cultural events and restaurants again, which also helped Australian cities like Melbourne and Sydney to bounce back.

Copenhagen (pictured) had another perfect score for infrastructure, education and stability in this year's Global Liveability - and an overall score of 98, the same as in 2022

Copenhagen (pictured) had another perfect score for infrastructure, education and stability in this year’s Global Liveability – and an overall score of 98, the same as in 2022

3. Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne has been a fixture in the top ten in the last few years and has yet again been Australia’s highest-ranking city with a score of 97.7.   

The great healthcare, education and infrastructure – which all got a score of 100 – has helped the city land the 3rd spot in the ranking.

The shift towards normality after the pandemic has helped Melbourne since seeing its healthcare score improve since last year, when they were still affected by the strain of the pandemic on the healthcare systems. 

Melbourne has moved up seven places in the ranking after placing a joint 10th with Osaka, Japan, last year. 

Melbourne (pictured) has been a fixture in the top ten in the last few years and has yet again been Australia's highest-ranking city with a score of 97.7

Melbourne (pictured) has been a fixture in the top ten in the last few years and has yet again been Australia’s highest-ranking city with a score of 97.7

4.  Sydney, Australia

As the second most liveable city in Australia, Sydney scored a 97.4.

While the healthcare, education and infrastructure scores are just as perfect as those in Melbourne, the culture and environment lacks behind its Australian neighbour.

Nevertheless, the city is among the most liveable in the world and has banished European cities like Frankfurt and Amsterdam from the list after bouncing back after the pandemic.

Sydney has a population of 5.2million, which has grown by about 60,000 people since last year.

As the second most liveable city in Australia, Sydney (pictured) scored a 97.4. While the healthcare, education and infrastructure scores are just as perfect as those in Melbourne, the culture and environment lacks behind its Australian neighbour

As the second most liveable city in Australia, Sydney (pictured) scored a 97.4. While the healthcare, education and infrastructure scores are just as perfect as those in Melbourne, the culture and environment lacks behind its Australian neighbour

5. Vancouver, Canada

Canada also has two of its cities represented in the top 10 most liveable cities – and Vancouver was one of them with a score of 97.3, which even improved on last year’s score while the ranking in 5th place remained the same.

Perched on the west coast of Canada, Vancouver has the highest population in the country and is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities there – with 50 per cent of residents belonging to minority groups. 

Vancouver, one of the greenest cities in the world, is also one of the most expensive cities to live in.

The stability score in Vancouver is up compared to last year, when the city was impacted by anti-vaccine protests. 

Canada also has two of its cities represented in the top 10 most liveable cities - and Vancouver (pictured) was one of them with a score of 97.3, which even improved on last year's score while the ranking in 5th place remained the same

Canada also has two of its cities represented in the top 10 most liveable cities – and Vancouver (pictured) was one of them with a score of 97.3, which even improved on last year’s score while the ranking in 5th place remained the same

6. Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich ranked third in the liveability index with a score of 97.1 – largely due to it being a safe and green city, which is also a major financial centre.

The mid-sized city is also extremely wealthy – and the index’s authors said that this combination meant that the city fared very well in the survey. 

The city has rebounded since the pandemic on the back of its stability, good infrastructure and services. 

The education score has risen from 2022 and now sits at 100.

Zurich (pictured) ranked third in the liveability index with a score of 97.1 - largely due to it being a safe and green city, which is also a major financial centre

Zurich (pictured) ranked third in the liveability index with a score of 97.1 – largely due to it being a safe and green city, which is also a major financial centre

7. Calgary, Canada and Geneva, Switzerland

Calgary dropped from 3rd position last year to a joint 7th place shared with Geneva, which also dropped down from 6th. Both scored 96.8. 

The cities scored best due to its citizens’ access to good healthcare and education, with Calgary scoring 100 on infrastructure and stability, but just a low 87.3 on culture and entertainment. 

Geneva beats the Canadian city in culture and entertainment, likely due to it being a financial centre and a centre for diplomacy due to it being the headquarters of many UN agencies. 

Geneva therefore ranked highly for its stability and infrastructure with 95.0 and 96.4 respectively.

Calgary (pictured) dropped from 3rd position last year to a joint 7th place shared with Geneva, which also dropped down from 6th. Both scored 96.8

Calgary (pictured) dropped from 3rd position last year to a joint 7th place shared with Geneva, which also dropped down from 6th. Both scored 96.8

Geneva (pictured) beats the Canadian city in culture and entertainment, likely due to it being a financial centre and a centre for diplomacy due to it being the headquarters of many UN agencies

Geneva (pictured) beats the Canadian city in culture and entertainment, likely due to it being a financial centre and a centre for diplomacy due to it being the headquarters of many UN agencies

9. Toronto, Canada

Toronto scored 96.5 overall and a perfect score of 100 for its healthcare and education in the index. 

The city’s 2.9million residents can visit iconic landmarks such as the CN tower and museums. 

The city also has diverse neighourhoods, each being a micro cultural hub with different restaurants and parks. 

Like Vancouver, the stability score in Toronto is also up compared to last year when the city was disrupted by anti-vaccine protests. 

Toronto (pictured) scored 96.5 overall and a perfect score of 100 for its healthcare and education in the index

Toronto (pictured) scored 96.5 overall and a perfect score of 100 for its healthcare and education in the index

10. Osaka, Japan and Auckland, New Zealand

Asia-Pacific cities have made some of the biggest gains in the liveability index, accounting for eight of top ten movers up the rankings as economies recover from the pandemic. 

Auckland has soared by 25 places to a shared 10th with Osaka, which already held this position in 2022. They share a score of 96.0.

Osaka was the only Asian city to land in the top 10 this year, while Auckland is only Zealandian city to make it.   

The strong stability and good infrastructure are the main charms of the two cities, supported by good healthcare and opportunities for culture and entertainment, although the latter is significantly higher in Auckland, while Osaka scored better for stability.

The cities of Osaka in Japan (pictured) and Auckland in New Zealand came joint tenth in the index with a score of 96.0

The cities of Osaka in Japan (pictured) and Auckland in New Zealand came joint tenth in the index with a score of 96.0

The strong stability and good infrastructure are the main charms of the two cities, supported by good healthcare and opportunities for culture and entertainment, although the latter is significantly higher in Auckland (pictured)

The strong stability and good infrastructure are the main charms of the two cities, supported by good healthcare and opportunities for culture and entertainment, although the latter is significantly higher in Auckland (pictured)

Another one of New Zealand’s cities moved up in the ranking, which Wellington gaining 35 places to rank 23rd.

Perth and Adelaide, both in Australia, came shared 12th place after moving up 21 and 19 ranks respectively. 

Among the cities moving down the ranking were UK cities Edinburgh (-23 for 58th place), Manchester (-16 for 44th place) and London (-12 for 46th place). 

Edinburgh was the biggest mover down in the ranking this year. While none of these cities has seen a particularly sharp decline in their index scores, but they have failed to ‘make the gains that many other cities—particularly those in Asia—have made in the past year’, the Economist analysts explained in their report.

Other European cities dominating the list of the top ten fallers down the ranking are Stockholm, Sweden, after losing 22 places to rank 43rd, Rotterdam, Netherlands, after losing 16 places to 44th and Lyon, France, after losing 12 places to 37th.

Western European cities have slipped down the rankings in the 2023 survey due to increased instances of workers’ strikes and civil unrest, which have hurt their stability ratings.

Damascus, Syria, and Tripoli, Libya, are still at the bottom of the list and are the least liveable cities, held back by social unrest, terrorism and conflict. 

However, while Damascus has seen no improvement since last year despite the regional political comeback of its president, Bashar al-Assad, scores for Tripoli and other cities in the bottom ten have improved as the pandemic has receded. 

AND THE TEN LEAST LIVEABLE CITIES ARE…
City Score 
164. Douala, Cameroon 46.4
165. Kyiv, Ukraine  44.0 
166. Harare, Zimbabwe and Dhaka, Bangladesh 43.8 
168. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea 43.4 
169. Karachi, Pakistan  42.5 
170. Lagos, Nigeria  42.3 
171. Algiers, Algeria  42.0 
172. Tripoli, Libya  40.1 
173. Damascus, Syria  30.7 



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