These Are the Most Livable Cities in the World

If you're looking for a change of scenery, look no further.


After a year stuck in the same place, people all over the world are looking to shake up their living situation. For some people that means trading the city for the suburbs, moving closer to family, or just getting a bigger place. Others, though, are looking to make bigger changes, like moving abroad. No matter which camp you're in, it's not a decision that should be made lightly. That's where research comes in. Fortunately, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has done the hard job of compiling a list of the most livable cities in the world.

The EIU looked at 140 cities and analyzed more than 30 factors within five categories: Stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

The list is compiled annually, but considering that data for this survey was collected from February 22 to March 21, 2021, this year's looks markedly different from those of years past, giving us a good sense of how the COVID-19 pandemic affected liveability worldwide.

This year, Auckland, New Zealand, claimed the top spot, having last come in number 8 in 2017. Meanwhile, Vienna, Austria, which won two years in a row beginning in 2018, didn't even crack the top 10. 

While Australia may not have come in at number 1, it did claim more spots in the top 10 than any other country on the list. Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, and Brisbane were all featured on EIU's list, which suggests that the land down under is a pretty sweet place to live right now. New Zealand, Japan, and Switzerland tied with two cities each in the top 10.

Check out the full list below:

  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Osaka, Japan
  • Adelaide, Australia
  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Perth, Australia
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Brisbane, Australia

The pandemic played a major role in the rankings, according to EIU's research. According to the findings, the overall average livability score fell seven points from pre-pandemic rankings. Six of the top 10 countries on EIU's list were quick to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, closing borders, and implementing lockdowns. As a result, citizens were able to get back to normal relatively quickly and safely. Countries that weren't as quick or effective in their response, like the United States and Europe, fell in the rankings.

Lockdowns also had a huge effect on the rankings. Auckland closed its borders early and was able to keep public places like restaurants, theaters, and more open throughout the pandemic. Schools also didn't have to close, which led to an education score of 100% for the country in EIU's research. Wellington benefitted from these same factors, jumping from No. 15 on the list in previous years to No. 4 this year.

If you're already crunching the numbers and stressing about the cost of living in one of these cities, check out this list of the most affordable beachy places to live. If you're not quite ready to make the move across the pond, here's a list of the happiest cities in America.

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Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it—find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.