This is a repost of the article that was originally written in the Economist on August 18th, 2016. Written by THE DATA TEAM.
COMING up with a list of the world’s best cities is a near-impossible task. The bustle and hum of megacities like São Paulo or Tokyo might be too much for some people; others might struggle with the pace of life in Cleveland or Frankfurt. A ranking released on August 18th by our corporate cousin, the Economist Intelligence Unit, attempts instead to quantify the world’s most “liveable” cities—that is, which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions. The index, measured out of 100, considers 30 factors related to safety, health care, educational resources, infrastructure and the environment to calculate scores for 140 cities.
Damascus is the lowest-ranked city with a rating of just 30.2 out of 100, scoring poorly in all categories (understandably, due to Syria’s ruinous civil war). Kiev, the only European city in the bottom ten, performs better for health care and education but has a low stability score due to Ukraine’s ongoing conflict with Russia.Those that score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries. Melbourne tops the list for the sixth year in a row (see chart, right), and six of the top ten cities are in Australia or Canada. But Sydney, Australia’s largest city, drops out of the top ten due to fears over terrorism.
Increased instability over the past year has caused a drop in the score of nearly a fifth of the 140 cities surveyed (see chart, below). Ten of these cities are in western Europe, notably Paris, which has suffered multiple terrorist attacks. Some American cities, including Atlanta, San Francisco and Chicago have also dropped down the rankings after spikes in civil unrest.
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