The Austrian capital Vienna has returned as the world's most liveable city Photo: AFP
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Vienna ranked world's most liveable city; Osaka 10th

42 Comments

The Austrian capital Vienna has made a comeback as the world's most liveable city, according to an annual report from the Economist published Thursday.

The Ukrainian capital Kyiv was not included this year after Russia invaded the country in late February, while Russian cities Moscow and St Petersburg fell in the rankings over "censorship" and the impact of Western sanctions.

Vienna snatched the top spot from Auckland, which tumbled down to 34th place due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions, according to the report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

"Vienna, which slipped to 12th place in our rankings in early 2021 as its museums and restaurants were closed, has since rebounded to first place, the position it held in 2018 and 2019," it said.

"Stability and good infrastructure are the city's main charms for its inhabitants, supported by good healthcare and plenty of opportunities for culture and entertainment."

Europe boasted six out of the top 10 cities.

The Austrian capital was followed by the Danish capital Copenhagen and Switzerland's Zurich. Fellow Swiss city Geneva came sixth, Germany's Frankfurt seventh, and the Netherlands' Amsterdam ninth.

Canada also did well. Calgary came in joint third position, followed by Vancouver in fifth place and Toronto in eighth.

Japan's Osaka and Australia's Melbourne shared the 10th place. France's capital Paris came 19th, 23 places up from last year. The Belgian capital Brussels was 24th, just behind Canada's Montreal.

London was the world's 33rd most liveable city, while Spain's Barcelona and Madrid came 35th and 43rd respectively.

Italy's Milan ranked number 49, the U.S. city of New York 51, and China's Beijing came 71st.

Lebanon's capital Beirut, which was ravaged by a 2020 port explosion and is battling a crippling financial crisis, was not included in the ranking of business destinations.

Neither was the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, after the Russian invasion on February 24 forced the the EIU to abort its survey of the city.

Russia's capital Moscow saw its liveability ranking fall by 15 places, while St Petersburg slipped by 13 places.

"Increased censorship accompanies the ongoing conflict," the report noted. "Russian cities are additionally seeing restrictions on culture and environment as a result of Western economic sanctions."

Other cities in eastern Europe cities were considered less stable following "raised diplomatic tensions" due to the war in Ukraine.

The capital of war-torn Syria, Damascus, retained its place as least liveable city on the planet.

© 2022 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
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Osaka has virtually no buildings of architectural interest. Its waterways are ugly, and the centre is a jumble of ghastly steel, concrete and glass. Livable? Well, yes, in the sense of convenient, but the people are noisy and pushy and good luck if you fancy a quiet drink somewhere; your evening will be wrecked by hysterical 'high-tension' shouting, screaming and clapping, guaranteed.

-2 ( +26 / -28 )

Osaka has virtually no buildings of architectural interest. Its waterways are ugly, and the centre is a jumble of ghastly steel, concrete and glass. Livable? Well, yes, in the sense of convenient, but the people are noisy and pushy and good luck if you fancy a quiet drink somewhere; your evening will be wrecked by hysterical 'high-tension' shouting, screaming and clapping, guaranteed.

Let me guess - Are you in Tokyo, with too many apartments and buildings close together and stressful looking, where people on the morning commutes are squished in and look like they had the life sucked out of them. I can keep going. Crowds in most places in Tokyo.

6 ( +17 / -11 )

I visited Vienna as a backpacker in college and could barely afford to buy lunch. Does this index consider affordability? Having lived in San Francisco, the major demerit is that you will be paying 40% or more of your income for rent, and there is a state sales tax of 8-9% as well as a state income tax, with a further punch from the highest gas prices in the country. When I moved to Osaka, in spite of its bad points, my rent in a nice area was about 15% of my income and left a lot of money for other things that I could not do in San Francisco. Now I live in Tokyo and rent is closer to 20% of income so not so bad, but the salaries are higher than Osaka. Subjectively, I felt most secure in Osaka considering I had more money to spare and it is a MUCH more relaxed atmosphere than Tokyo.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Osaka may be a bit rough around the edges and run down in parts. Guilty as charged. But there is no doubt it is a gourmet paradise. Great food! Only Tokyo, Kyoto and Paris have more Michelin starred restaurants!

13 ( +19 / -6 )

This is a report for "business people" who will have relatively short term stays. (less than 5 years)

Vienna wouldn't make my top 100. London 33? Really? Osaka in the top 10? Its just a dirty version of Tokyo with poor manners. Frankfurt? Germany's most boring city.... The list is nonsense or a list for those with exceedingly poor taste.

1 ( +17 / -16 )

Vienna is beautiful but as Mr. Kipling mentions, was only there a short period of time.

For a large city (at least to me) Fukuoka is tough to beat although I think I would need a car if I lived there again.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Osaka has virtually no buildings of architectural interest. Its waterways are ugly, and the centre is a jumble of ghastly steel, concrete and glass.

That's part of its charm. If you want the touristy stuff, that's what Kyoto and Nara are for. If you want to obey the lights at pedestrian crossings, that's what Tokyo is for. If you want to ask a neighbor for some help, I'll take Osaka.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

The capital of war-torn Syria, Damascus, retained its place as least liveable city on the planet.

Ukraine should be right up there with them

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Fukuoka is tough to beat 

Well said. And the women. In Tokyo everyone walks around exhausted.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Unfortunately, Austria, like Germany, hasn't good food : mostly sausages, cabbage and popatoes.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

The criteria to be "most livable" is how much money is left on your pocket every month after you get your salary. The lesser, the better!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Chico3, Let me guess - Are you in Tokyo,

No, I live 15 minutes from central Osaka. I speak from many years of experience.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

No consistency whatsoever. One day Auckland’s numero uno, the next it’s thirty-fourth. Vienna bounces around like a yo yo; 1st, 12th, 1st, all in the space of three years. That Europe boasted six out of the top 10 cities tells us all we need to know about this Eurocentric farce.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Fluff article for coffee breaks. Wherever you are happiest is the most livable, it’s entirely subjective.

I live in a modest city. All amenities/facilities nearby, good restaurants, nature or the capital both 45 minutes away.

Find your sweet spot and ignore articles like this.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Clearly the people who compile this list haven’t travelled much! On top of that just traveling as a visitor isn’t enough because to make a list of most livable cities, one needs to stay there, work there and try living as a local… then you can say it’s livable or not! Melbourne and Osaka on the same level??? They must have been smoking something strong when they listed them on the same level at 10th! There are so many better and beautiful cities in Japan itself than Osaka which is dirty, rowdy, noisy!!!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

To add on, as others have mentioned above Fukuoka is almost impossible to beat while ranking Japans cities !

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Fukuoka is great. Agreed.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Osaka 10th?!?! BS!!!!!!!! The place is a dump!

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Vienna number one, not for much longer, as Europe gears up for round 3 of the vendetta wars or as they are better known: world war (insert number here).

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Three best cities in japan hands down ( in no particular order )

Sapporo. Yokohama. Fukuoka.

By far and away.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Now I would like to see how this was done, because a few things don't make sense, so Calgary is 3rd, Vancouver 5th Montreal 24th.

Seems very strange seeing within Canada Vancouver far out ranks Calgary as most liveable, as does Montreal to be exact Calgary within Canada doesn't even make the top 5.

Ottawa, Quebec, Edmonton, Halifax, etc..all out rank Calgary.

The only ranking I have see with Calgary in the top 10 was a real estate company site.

So it is strange this place has a city that Canadians don't consider top liveable in 3rd place

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Clearly it does what it says on the tin. Keeps you all busy ranking cities.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Now I would like to see how this was done, because a few things don't make sense, so Calgary is 3rd, Vancouver 5th Montreal 24th.

Seems very strange seeing within Canada Vancouver far out ranks Calgary as most liveable, as does Montreal to be exact Calgary within Canada doesn't even make the top 5.

Ottawa, Quebec, Edmonton, Halifax, etc..all out rank Calgary.

The only ranking I have see with Calgary in the top 10 was a real estate company site.

So it is strange this place has a city that Canadians don't consider top liveable in 3rd place

How about that? Apparently media manipulation is real.

I think you should put more time and research into this. Tell me more about Calgary, sounds like you’re onto something. You should dig deeper.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I think you should put more time and research into this. Tell me more about Calgary, sounds like you’re onto something. You should dig deeper.

Nothing to tell I have lived there.

I would rather eat road apples than live there again, if I had to live in Alberta I would take Edmonton over "cowgary" any day.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

No consistency whatsoever. One day Auckland’s numero uno, the next it’s thirty-fourth. 

Maybe it's different people putting out similar but slightly different named rankings. This is not exactly journalism, is it? There will be very little actual analysis going on and anyone can do it.

Osaka has a lot going for it, but is very grey with almost no green space in the center. In spite of having a very expensive airport, there aren't that many flights to Europe, the type of thing that will disappoint any wealthy expat types who read these rankings. It sounds like the main reason to dislike Osaka, the super extortionate "hoshoukin" money required to rent an apartment, is no longer as bad as it was. In the 1990s, it could cost one million yen upfront in hoshoukin to rent a decent 3LDK, with 400,000 of that being treated as a gift ("shikibiki") to the landlord that you would never see again.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nothing to tell I have lived there.

I would rather eat road apples than live there again, if I had to live in Alberta I would take Edmonton over "cowgary" any day.

So you’d agree that it’s all entirely subjective then and your complaints about ranking were just being caught up in the media frenzy.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Except for Osaka, all these top 10 cities are Caucasian cities. Does that influence the evaluation criteria? Easy for whites to live there?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Articles that describe a list without actually including the list annoy me immensely. Like a recipe without a list of ingredients.

1 Vienna, Austria (99.1);

2 Copenhagen, Denmark (98.0);

3 Zurich, Switzerland (96.3);

4 Calgary, Canada (96.3);

5 Vancouver, Canada (96.1);

6 Geneva, Switzerland (95.9);

7 Frankfurt, Germany (95.7);

8 Toronto, Canada (95.4);

9 Amsterdam, Netherlands (95.3)

10 Osaka, Japan (95.1);

11 Melbourne, Australia (95.1).

4 ( +5 / -1 )

As a western European and a person that comes from one of these cities I see no wonder here.

So much for this Japanese good life myth,no wonder most nordic Europeans don’t choose Japan as a living place.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Great to see Oaska, Can't wait until the World Expo.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Is this a list of the world's most boring cities and people. Give me Dubai or Dakar any day ..gonna ride that left till the sun goes down

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Who would have guessed, Osaka was inserted on the top 10th list to evade criticism. There is another inference, can anyone guess? Treat for a faithful lap dog!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

None of top cities are very 'liveable' unless you're already quite wealthy, at which point every city in the world becomes liveable. Meaningless ranking.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

None of top cities are very 'liveable' unless you're already quite wealthy, at which point every city in the world becomes liveable. Meaningless ranking.

Yeah, because people are either really wealthy, or poor, with no in-between, right?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

They forgot Tokyo, the coolest and frikiest city in the world..

Let the haters bark..

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Unfortunately, Austria, like Germany, hasn't good food : mostly sausages, cabbage and popatoes.

Then you really truly don't know Austrian cuisine. Austrian cuisine has a lot to offer, definitely better than German food. Just all depends.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Strangerland

Yeah, because people are either really wealthy, or poor, with no in-between, right?

Of course there's a middle-class in every city (albeit often a shrinking one) but I fail to see your point.

The higher cost of living in elite cities like Geneva or Amsterdam create conditions where the middle-class could enjoy much higher standards of living almost anywhere else, even on substantially lower incomes. Unless you're already on the property ladder in any of these elite cities, most ordinary people are better off living elsewhere. Of course the glamour and excitement of these cities still attract many young people who will be chewed up and eventually spit out without having managed to save a single penny.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Vancouver is a beautiful city, expensive but what great city where everyone wants to live isn't? Beautiful parks, beaches, world class restaurants, and the ocean and mountains right at your front door.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I don't really care about 'liveable' as this index portrays it. I love the nightlife, the vibe and cool people. NYC and Rio all day.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"Except for Osaka, all these top 10 cities are Caucasian cities. Does that influence the evaluation criteria? Easy for whites to live there?"

Good question. I'd say it mostly reflects the ongoing impact of European and Japanese imperialism, i.e. over a period of decades or centuries extracting (or stealing) wealth from the colonies in the form of forced/slave labor and bringing it back to the metropole. Liverpool in England is a livable city today not because it's a paradise for Beatles fans but because it was the financial center and beneficiary of the trans-Atlantic slave trade for over a century. It's not like slavery and imperialism's effects just ceased the moment they ended.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Wonderful.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Top places to visit and top places to live are very different.

It has been a few years since my last trip to Vienna. We had fun, but it wasn't exactly cheap. We ended up taking taxis everywhere, which were not cheap, but we were never ripped off or felt our lives were in danger like happens in many other cities of the world. The food was excellent, but you had to know where to eat. I travel with a foodie, that's his job and he is seldom wrong.

Vancouver is nice, from my limited time there. It is always a stopping point on the way to Whistler Blackcomb for skiing, but we tend to have a full day in the city and get out to see some new part we haven't seen.

Calgary winters would scare me and I grew up in places with real winter - weeks where it was freezing outside, always.

The top of the list seems to avoid hotter places. I approve. Just stepping outside shouldn't make me sweat in the local spring time. That's the huge negative for Thailand, Singapore, and Central/South America. Santiago and BsAs can be nice places to visit too, though they won't have stolen treasures from around the world like Europe does.

Amsterdam seems livable. We always try for a 23 hr layover when traveling through AMS. If we say longer, the arrival taxes are huge. I don't know if that's an EU thing or a AMS thing.

NYC might be amazing, but I'd never consider it livable. Different ideas for what makes a place livable, I suppose.

When raising kids, I'd want to stay away from any huge cities and be 2 hrs or more outside. A town of less than 150K people is where a child can thrive, feel bigger than they are and still be close enough to travel hubs that going elsewhere isn't too hard. Being able to ride a bicycle safely on the streets of the town is a priority. Plus being able to tell your 8-18 old old to get out of the house and go play (be home by supper) without worry is very nice. In a big city, I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that. Kids need to explore things on their own, without hovering parents.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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