2021 Global Liveability Index

The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU) is the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, the sister company to The Economist newspaper recently released they 2021 Global Liveability Index. It shows how the world was impacted by COVID-19 and which cities were still able to maintain a safe and healthy lifestyle.

In general, Asian cities improved compared to their western counterparts.

The livability index ranks cities based on more than 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Due to the pandemic, the EIU added new indicators such as stress on health-care resources as well as restrictions around local sporting events, theatres, music concerts, restaurants and schools.

How the Covid-19 pandemic affected liveability worldwide

Data for this survey was collected from February 22nd to March 21st 2021. Key findings include the following:

  • The overall global average liveability score has fallen by seven points, as compared with the average pre-pandemic score. The extent to which cities were sheltered by strong border closures, their ability to handle the health crisis and the pace at which they rolled out vaccination campaigns drove significant changes in the rankings.
  • 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 (Covid-19) pandemic faster and thus lift restrictions earlier, unlike others around the world.
  • Six of the top ten cities in the March 2021 survey are in New Zealand or Australia, where tight border controls have allowed residents to live relatively normal lives.
  • Many European and Canadian cities have fallen down the rankings, having battled a second Covid-19 wave by restricting cultural and sporting events, and closing schools and restaurants.
  • The lower end of the rankings has seen less change, with the Syrian capital, Damascus, still the least liveable city in the world.
  • Healthcare scores fell after the onset of the pandemic in most cities across the world, with the least- affected cities concentrated in western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

You can download the full report here and explore the findings for yourself.