Melbourne and Sydney have plummeted down the list of the world’s most liveable cities rankings.
In a year where management of the pandemic was key, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s survey has rated Auckland as the most liveable city in the world – thanks to New Zealand’s near elimination of the coronavirus.
The Japanese city of Osaka takes the runner-up’s spot.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on global liveability,” the EIU said.
“Cities across the world are now much less liveable than they were before the pandemic began, and we’ve seen that regions such as Europe have been hit particularly hard.”
Australia again fared well but the most populous state capitals took a hit.
Melbourne – which endured Australia’s longest COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 and is about to emerge from its fourth pandemic shutdown – held the title for seven years and was in second place the last time the list was compiled in 2019.
In 2020, it plunged to eighth – a fall matched by Sydney, which dropped outside of the top 10. It fell from third to 11th, despite escaping the worst of the southern capital’s coronavirus-induced woes.
It is Adelaide that emerged as the surprise package, rising to third from 10th in 2019.
Perth also fared well, sitting in sixth place, while Brisbane rounded out the top 10.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index for 2021 ranks 140 global cities based on the five categories of stability, healthcare, education, culture and environment, and infrastructure.
Adelaide got a perfect score for healthcare and education, as well as 96.4 for infrastructure, a 95 for stability and an 83.8 for culture and environment.
“Auckland, in New Zealand, is at the top of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability rankings, owing to the city’s ability to contain the coronavirus pandemic faster and thus lift restrictions earlier, unlike others around the world,” the Global Liveability Index 2021 report said.
“Six of the top 10 cities in the March 2021 survey are in New Zealand or Australia, where tight border controls have allowed residents to live relatively normal lives.”
Property Council SA executive director Daniel Gannon told InDaily that Adelaide’s high scores were “hardly a surprise”.
“Throughout the pandemic, our state has built a new reputation focused on resilience, safety, and wellbeing, which is leading to an increase in attention, population and investment,” he said.
The full top 10 is:
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Osaka, Japan
- Adelaide, Australia
- Wellington, New Zealand
- Tokyo, Japan
- Perth, Australia
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Geneva, Switzerland
- Melbourne, Australia
- Brisbane, Australia
At the other end of the list, the war-torn Syrian capital Damascus was named the world’s least liveable city. Lagos, Nigeria and Port Moresby, in Papua New Guinea, were ranked second and third-worst.
The global survey was postponed in 2020 as coronavirus lockdowns made it difficult for contributors and expert analysts to collect data for many cities.