Most liveable cities: the 10 best and worst places to live in 2022

Global index ranks 173 cities on stability, culture and environment, education and infrastructure, and health care

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Abu Dhabi and Dubai are named the most liveable cities in the Middle East and North Africa for the fifth year in a row.

The list, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global survey, ranked 173 cities on stability, culture and environment, education and infrastructure, and health care.

Abu Dhabi pipped Dubai to the post of best city in which to live in the Middle East, with the two ranked 77th and 79th, respectively.

Vienna in Austria topped the global list. The Austrian capital, which slipped to 12th place in the rankings in early 2021 when its museums and restaurants were closed because of Covid-19, rebounded to first place, the position it held in 2018 and 2019.

An easing of Covid-19 restrictions has translated into liveability rankings resembling those seen before the pandemic, the report said.

Europe holds the title for the most spots in the top 10 list this year, with six European cities in Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands ranked among the most liveable.

Cities in Canada, Australia and Japan, including Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Osaka and Melbourne, completed the top 10 list.

This year, 33 cities were new to the rankings, one third of which are in China.

War affects rankings

Because of the war in Ukraine, Kyiv was not included in the annual report and the conflict has influenced rankings for Moscow and St Petersburg in Russia.

Both cities recorded a fall in scores owing to increased instability, censorship, imposition of western sanctions and corporates withdrawing their operations from the country.

“Global prices for many goods, particularly food and fuel, rose sharply in 2021 and have since soared as a result of the war in Ukraine,” the report said.

“This sharp spike in inflation will put quality of life in many cities at risk, particularly if there are also interruptions to food and fuel supplies caused by the war in Ukraine.

“Either residents will be forced to pay much higher prices, making it harder to enjoy the culture and environment of their cities, or governments will take on more of the burden, which will risk their ability to provide high-quality public services.”

The bottom 10 cities in the rankings stayed fairly stable for the 2022 edition. Damascus in Syria was deemed the least liveable city, scoring low in the stability, health care and infrastructure categories.

Lagos in Nigeria came in just above Damascus, followed by Tripoli in Libya and Algiers in Algeria.

War, conflict and terrorism are the biggest factors weighing down the 10 lowest-ranked cities, of which seven are in the Middle East and Africa.

Encouragingly, however, all of the bottom 10, apart from Tripoli, have improved their scores in the past year as Covid-19 restrictions eased.

In terms of the biggest movers up the ranks, Germany performed well, with the three top improvers.

Frankfurt climbed an impressive 32 places over the past year to seventh place, while Hamburg moved 31 places to 16th.

Since last year, Paris in France and London in the UK, which usually perform less well in the ranking because of big-city problems such as congestion and crime, soared 23 and 27 places to 19th and 33rd respectively, as they start to treat Covid-19 as an endemic rather than a pandemic, the report said.

Taking a tumble this year, Cities in New Zealand and Australia were listed among the biggest fallers in the rankings, including Wellington and Auckland, which tumbled by 46 and 33 places respectively.

Here, The National lists the 10 most and least liveable cities in the world.

Most liveable cities in 2022

1. Vienna, Austria

2. Copenhagen, Denmark

3. Zurich, Switzerland

4. Calgary, Canada

5. Vancouver, Canada

6. Geneva, Switzerland

7. Frankfurt, Germany

8. Toronto, Canada

9. Amsterdam, Netherlands

10. Osaka, Japan and Melbourne, Australia

Least liveable cities in 2022

1. Damascus, Syria

2. Lagos, Nigeria

3. Tripoli, Libya

4. Algiers, Algeria

5. Karachi, Pakistan

6. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

7. Dhaka, Bangladesh

8. Harare, Zimbabwe

9. Douala, Cameroon

10. Tehran, Iran

Updated: July 13, 2022, 7:08 AM