Global Economy
Vancouver remains at the top of the ranking of the world's most liveable cities for the 5th straight year
By Finfacts Team
Feb 21, 2011 - 3:23 PM

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Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver remains at the top of the ranking, of the world's most liveable cities for the 5th straight year, while Melbourne claimed second place from Vienna and Australian and Canadian cities dominated the list's top 10 spots. The Economist Intelligence Unit says Vancouver's position that can only have been cemented by the successful hosting of the 2010 winter Olympics and Paralympics, which provided a boost to the infrastructure and culture and environment categories. Only petty crime presents any difficulties for Vancouver, although this would be a typical shortfall of any such location.

These advantages are shared with a number of other cities in the survey, and the variation between surveys is minimal. Just 2.3 percentage points separate the top ten cities, where the only change in the current survey is a slightly lower score for Vienna. As a result, Melbourne rises to become the second highest ranked city.

Of the poorer scoring cities, only 11 cities occupy the very bottom tier of liveability, where ratings fall below 50% and most aspects of living are severely restricted. Africa and Asia account for all 11 cities, with violence, whether through crime, civil insurgency, terrorism or war, playing a strong role. Although not in the bottom tier of cities, worsening stability relating to violence has seen a 2.5 point fall in the liveability score of Mexico City.

Harare (Zimbabwe) is the lowest-scoring city at just 37.5%. Despite celebrating 30 years of independence in April 2010, the situation remains challenging across all indicators. Despite hopes of elections in 2011, stability and healthcare scores of just 25% and 20.8% respectively highlight a bleak situation.

"Mid-sized cities in developed countries with relatively low population densities tend to score well by having all the cultural and infrastructural benefits on offer with fewer problems related to crime or congestion," said Jon Copestake, editor of the report, in a statement.

Pittsburgh was the top US city with 29th place -- just ahead of Honolulu -- while Los Angeles rose three places to 44th and New York retained its 56th position.

London moved up one place to 53rd while Paris came in at number 16.

The top Asian city was Osaka at number 12, tying Geneva, Switzerland and beating out the Japanese capital of Tokyo, which came in at 18.

Hong Kong got a 31 rank but China's capital Beijing, got a lowly 72nd position.

Last year, Dublin, Ireland got a 26th rank in Mercer's Quality of Life ranking of global cites;

The EIU assesses which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions. Assessing liveability has a broad range of uses, from benchmarking perceptions of development levels to assigning a hardship allowance as part of expatriate relocation packages. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability rating quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle in any given location, and allows for direct comparison between locations.

Every city is assigned a rating of relative comfort for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure. Each factor in a city is rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable. For qualitative indicators, a rating is awarded based on the judgment of in-house analysts and in-city contributors. For quantitative indicators, a rating is calculated based on the relative performance of a number of external data points.

The scores are then compiled and weighted to provide a score of 1–100, where 1 is considered intolerable and 100 is considered ideal. The liveability rating is provided both as an overall score and as a score for each category. To provide points of reference, the score is also given for each category relative to New York and an overall position in the ranking of 140 cities is provided.

‘A Summary of the Liveability Ranking and Overview’  -- The Economist Intelligence Unit, 21 February 2011.

Following is a list of the top 10 most liveable cities as ranked by The Economist Intelligence Unit:

1. Vancouver, Canada

2. Melbourne, Australia

3. Vienna, Austria

4. Toronto, Canada

5. Calgary, Canada

6. Helsinki, Finland

7. Sydney, Australia

8. Perth, Australia

8. Adelaide, Australia

10. Auckland, New Zealand

The bottom 10 cities were:

1. Harare, Zimbabwe

2. Dhaka , Bangladesh

3. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

4. Lagos, Nigeria

5. Algiers , Algeria

6. Karachi, Pakistan

7. Douala, Cameroon

8. Tehran, Iran

9. Dakar, Senegal

10. Colombo, Sri Lanka

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