Soapbox: publisher's perspective |

The 10 Best Places to Live in the World: Jakarta is Not on The List

Soapbox: Publisher's Perspective | 28 July 2022

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Liveability Index 2022, has just published the latest annual ranking of the best places to live in the world, which scores 172 cities in five categories: Stability, Healthcare, Culture & Entertainment, Education, and Infrastructure.  

For the past two years, EIU’s rankings have been largely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, with lockdowns and social distancing measures affecting scores for culture, education, and healthcare in cities across the world. The 2022 report signals a return to pre-pandemic trends, although several other factors—particularly Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—have caused some regions to fall in the rankings.

So what exactly are the most livable cities in 2022? Looking at the top 10, cities in Western Europe and Canada are at the top—but those in Australia and Japan rank high as well. No U.S. cities made the cut. And I am too embarrassed to look for Jakarta’s rankings. Maybe you can put some scores to our wonderful capital….

01. Melbourne, Australia (tie)

› Overall rating (out of 100): 95.1
Stability: 95 Healthcare: 83.3 Culture & Environment: 98.6  Infrastructure: 100
Although it slid in the ranks from number 8 to number 10 this year, Melbourne remains one of the most livable cities in Australia—and the entire world. The city shines with all of Australia’s best traits—sophisticated, stylish, free-spirited—and continues to attract travelers with its world-class art and famed coffee and cuisine.

02. Osaka, Japan (tie)

› Overall rating: 95.1
Stability: 100 Healthcare:100 Culture and environment:83.1 Education: 100 Infrastructure: 96.4
Japan’s third-largest city (after Tokyo and Yokohama) is often seen as a hidden gem with the tourism pull of the nation’s capital, but there are plenty of reasons it’s become a destination in its own right. For starters, Osaka is one of the best food cities in all of Japan, but we also love the city for its baseball culture, neon-lit neighborhoods, and beautiful Osaka Castle.

03. Amsterdam, Netherlands

› Overall rating: 95.3
Stability: 90 Healthcare: 100 Culture and environment: 97.2 Education: 91.7 Infrastructure: 96.4
You know Amsterdam’s oh-so-famous central canal, rightly dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Add in swathes of green space, storied red-brick facades, and museums filled with Van Gogh paintings—not to mention an incredible healthcare system—and you have yourself one of Europe’s best places to live.

04. Toronto, Canada

› Overall rating: 95.4
Stability: 95 Healthcare: 100 Culture and environment: 95.4 Education: 100 Infrastructure: 89.3
Toronto has the appeal of a big city without many of the common downsides—it’s clean, safe, easy to get around, and extremely friendly. Best of all, it benefits from Canada’s famously great healthcare and education systems. Downtown Toronto has a vibrant arts and theater district and great restaurants, plus great waterfront views 

05. Frankfurt, Germany

› Overall rating: 95.7 Stability: 90 Healthcare: 100 Culture and environment: 96.3 Education: 91.7 Infrastructure: 100. The German city is one of Europe’s biggest financial hubs, so it attracts a fair share of expats looking for jobs. But there are plenty of draws beyond business opportunities, like the world’s largest book fair, a cityscape featuring both glitzy skyscrapers and a cobblestoned Old Town, and one of the busiest airports in Europe.

06. Geneva, Switzerland

› Overall rating: 95.9
Stability: 95 Healthcare: 100 Culture & Environment: 94.9 Education: 91.7 Infrastructure: 96.4
Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, Geneva proves its livability with a perfect healthcare score (it is the home of the Red Cross, after all) and high numbers for stability and infrastructure. There’s no denying the city’s natural beauty, either—it boasts expansive views of the Alps and Jura Mountains, and, of course, is home to Lake Geneva. 

07. Vancouver, Canada

› Overall rating: 96.1 
Stability: 90 Healthcare: 100 Culture & Environment: 100 Education: 100 Infrastructure: 92.9
Vancouver is a perfect mix of natural beauty and sophistication. The city feels cosmopolitan, but it’s still easy to get outdoors within the city limits and embrace that active Northwest lifestyle. The Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver is always a popular attraction, as is Stanley Park (for locals and visitors alike). Most importantly, the people here are so friendly.

08. Calgary, Canada (tie)

› Overall rating: 96.3
Stability: 95 Healthcare: 100 Culture & Environment: 90 Education: 100  Infrastructure: 100
Calgary is another place where nature and urban living go hand in hand. You can see mountains from nearly anywhere within the city, and outdoor wonderlands like Lake Louise and Banff National Park are just a couple hours away. Meanwhile, culinary and cultural events thrive in town—just check out the world-famous Calgary Stampede for proof.

09. Zurich, Switzerland (tie)

› Overall rating: 96.3
Stability: 95 Healthcare: 100 Culture & Environment: 96.3 Education: 91.7 Infrastructure: 96.4
Switzerland’s largest city and economic hub may seem one-dimensional at first glance, with a reputation for being hyper-efficient and severe. The fact that you’ll find spotless streets and trains that always run on time is true—but the city is full of surprises. Come summertime, you’ll find citizens swimming in the Limmat River, playing volleyball in the parks, and riding their bikes to grab scoops of gelato. Zurich also is something of a haven for young creatives, with plenty of art galleries and fantastic restaurants.

10. Copenhagen, Denmark

› Overall rating: 98
Stability: 100 Healthcare: 95.8 Culture & Environment: 95.4 Education: 100 Infrastructure: 100
Despite its reputation for churning out cutting-edge restaurants and hotels, Copenhagen has an ageless charm that makes you want to keep going back. The whimsical, 1800s-era Tivoli Gardens puts all other amusement parks to shame, while the bohemian community of Christiania is a hazy, verdant dreamland. The city is expensive, but you don’t necessarily need a fat wallet to enjoy it. Public parks and free galleries abound, and the infrastructure makes it one of the most bike-friendly places in the world.

11. Vienna, Austria

› Overall rating: 99.1
Stability: 100 Healthcare: 100 Culture & Environment: 96.3 Education: 100 Infrastructure: 100
Vienna was missing from last year’s top 10 due to pandemic-prompted closures, but it has reclaimed the top spot this year—a position it also held in 2018 and 2019. The city earned a perfect score in nearly every category, benefiting from a thriving arts and culture scene and incredible healthcare and education. Between visiting the opera, touring the gardens at Schönbrunn Palace, and sampling Sachertorte (chocolate torte), you’ll never get bored here. Plus, the local government puts a lot of resources behind infrastructure and housing, so the cost of living is far lower than in comparable European cities.

Jakarta ….? This is what I will guess for the scores: Stability 85 Healthcare 75 Culture and Environment 60 Education 70 Infrastructure 55. 
Overall 69. What do you think? The lowest 10 didn’t make it much past 50! 


Alistair Speirs