The 10 Most Livable Cities All Share This One Thing in Common

published Jul 3, 2024
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Graben street and Plague Column in center of Vienna
Credit: Mistervlad / Shutterstock

There’s no shortage of studies and surveys ranking the best places to live around the world, but what makes a city truly livable? Depending on who you ask, walkable neighborhoods, access to good schools, high-quality healthcare, and a low cost of living all make a compelling case for truly livable cities. Now, a recently published power-ranking of the most livable cities in the world, compiled by Economist Intelligence, lists the most livable cities in the world — and they all have one thing in common. 

The study found that none of the top 10 most livable cities in the world are in the U.S. Vienna, Austria, was named as the world’s most livable city in EIU’s Liveability Index for 2024, was followed by Copenhagen, Denmark; Zurich, Switzerland; Melbourne, Australia; Calgary, Canada; Geneva, Switzerland; Sydney, Australia; Vancouver, Canada; Osaka, Japan; and Auckland, New Zealand. 

Vienna, which was crowned the winner for the third year in a row, got perfect scores for stability, education, healthcare, and infrastructure, but was dinged in the culture and environment categories with a score of 93.5 due to its lack of major sporting activities. 

The study divided the 30 indicators of comfortable living into the five categories, and most of the top choices performed pretty similarly. For example, all 10 of the most livable cities got a 100% score for education, and there were only slight variations in stability, healthcare, and infrastructure. The biggest differences were in culture and environment, which measures both environmental climate as well as the entertainment options in each city. 

The survey, which measured 173 cities from Feb. 12 through March 17, found that in general, livability declined over the past year in North America due to rising costs of living, crime, housing crises, and civil unrest. Since the study was conducted, Economist Intelligence also called out campus protests across the U.S. as a symptom of livability stress. 

While no U.S. cities made the the top 10, Atlanta, Georgia, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were cited as some of the cities with the biggest positive jump in livability rankings. Atlanta, which was 29th, and Pittsburgh, which was 30th, got livability rankings of 92.3 and 92.1. Meanwhile, Miami, Florida, saw a big negative drop, and now ranks 47th overall. 

However, even among the top rankers, Economist Intelligence said there were some worrying livability trends, especially with political unrest impacting stability scores and cost-of-living issues. For example, both Sydney and Melbourne slipped in their rankings due to housing cost issues, while Toronto fell out of the top 10 to 12th place.

Here Are the Top Most Livable Cities in the World:

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. Zurich, Switzerland
  4. Melbourne, Australia
  5. Calgary, Canada
  6. Geneva, Switzerland
  7. Sydney, Australia
  8. Vancouver, Canada
  9. Osaka, Japan
  10. Auckland, New Zealand