Global livability score drops due to COVID-19: Report

New Zealand, Australia dominate top 10, European cities fall in rankings

Ovunc Kutlu   | 09.06.2021
Global livability score drops due to COVID-19: Report


The overall global average livability score has fallen by seven points, compared with the pre-pandemic score, according to a report by The Economist Intelligence Unit on Wednesday.

The coronavirus pandemic caused livability to decline "as cities experienced lockdowns and significant strains on their healthcare systems," said the research and analysis division of The Economist Group in its report -- The Global Liveability Index 2021.

"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," it noted.

New Zealand and Australia dominated the top 10 with six cities, due to their strong response to the pandemic with tight border controls allowing residents to live relatively normal lives, the report said.

While New Zealand's Auckland came on top as the most livable city in the world with a score of 96, it was followed by Japan's Osaka, and Adelaide, Australia with scores of 94.2 and 94, respectively.

The biggest gainers in this year’s index were US cities Honolulu and Houston that climbed 46 and 31 spots, respectively, as they lifted social restrictions.

Many European cities, however, have dropped in the rankings, after the second wave of COVID-19 restricted cultural and sporting events and closed schools and restaurants, the report added.

Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf in Germany moved down around 30 spots in the rankings. Prague, Czech Republic, the Italian capital Rome, and Dublin, Ireland have fallen approximately 20 spots.

The cities at the lower end of the rankings have seen less change. Damascus, Syria's capital, came at the bottom of the list with a score of 26.5.

The data was collected from Feb. 22 to March 21 this year for the report that ranked 140 cities globally across five areas -- stability, healthcare, education, culture and environment, and infrastructure.

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