Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland among top 10 most liveable cities

03 July 2023 4 min. read
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Melbourne and Sydney are back to the very top of the latest ‘most liveable city’ rankings, having overcome the worst of Covid-19 to once again return to arguing against each other over which is best.

After the disruption of Covid-19 and some of the world’s strictest lock-downs, both Melbourne and Sydney have rocketed back up the annual ‘Most Liveable City’ charts according to the latest analysis from research consultancy The Economist Intelligence Unit, landing in at third and fourth on the global listings.

Auckland also made the top ten, which together with Wellington and Perth accounted for the three largest jumps over the past twelve months.

Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland among top 10 most liveable cities

The Economist Intelligence Unit – the economic consulting arm of the Economist – has been conducting its Global Livability Rankings for more than two decades, but noted that this year’s assessment of more than 170 cities represented a 15-year high in average scores, driven by a return to pre-pandemic conditions and improved education and healthcare in developing economies.

Other ‘livability’ dimensions rated out of 100 include stability, infrastructure, and culture & environment.

Reclaiming what both would consider their rightful places at the top of the rankings are Melbourne and Sydney – both rating in excess of 97 points as an average across all dimensions, albeit with the former once again shading its parochial rival. The pair finished behind only Copenhagen and Vienna – the latter a perennial number one in many similar indices – returning to similar territory they occupied in 2019. Melbourne however once topped the list in 2017.

Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland among top 10 most liveable cities

Diving deeper however, both cities still lost points on the ‘stability’ ranking as compared to their Austrian and Danish counterparts, which includes sub-factors such as the prevalence of petty and violent crime, along with the threat of terror, military conflict and civil unrest.

All four meanwhile scored maximum points for education and infrastructure, with Melbourne and Sydney’s gains found in the area of healthcare after overcoming the worst of Covid-19.

“Melbourne and Sydney have moved up to fill spots claimed last year by western European cities such as Frankfurt and Amsterdam,” state the report authors, who noted the relative climb across the Asia Pacific. “The Australian cities, which bounced up and down the rankings during the pandemic, have seen their scores in the healthcare category improve since last year, when they were still affected by the Covid-19 waves which stressed their healthcare systems.”

Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland among top 10 most liveable cities

Another former number one in Auckland (2021) has also shot back into contention, landing in equal 10th alongside Osaka with a score of 96 after falling to 35th last year. The 25-place jump was behind only New Zealand capital and local ‘rival’ Wellington, up by a massive 35 place to 23rd, while Perth rose 21 spots to push the top ten at 12th. Adelaide, which has been a consistent top-five place-holder on the back of a progressive tech agenda, was equal twelfth.

On the other side of the ledger, the biggest sliders in the rankings were dominated by cities in Europe and the US, led by the more than twenty-place drops experienced by Edinburgh and Stockholm. Others among the top ten drops included Los Angeles, Rotterdam, Lyon and London, with a lack of improvement given as the primary factor rather than a notable decline in overall scores.

Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland among top 10 most liveable cities

Increased instances of industrial action and civil unrest have however impacted stability ratings.

Upasana Dutt, head of the Liveability Index at The Economist Intelligence Unit, noted that, “As the world’s political and economic axis continues to shift eastwards, we expect the cities in these regions to move slowly up our liveability rankings,” although one surprise at the very bottom of the rankings was that Kyiv is still out-performing a number of Asia-Pacific locales, including Dhaka (Bangladesh), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), and Karachi (Pakistan) in the overall rankings.