Zurich and Geneva ranked among the 10 most liveable cities on earth

Zurich and Geneva ranked among the 10 most liveable cities on earth

The latest study by the Economist Intelligence Unit has named Zurich and Geneva as two of the best places to live on the planet. Despite falling a few positions on the list for 2023, both Swiss cities still rank among the 10 most liveable cities on Earth.

Global Liveability Index 2023

To create the Global Liveability Index for 2023, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) analysed 173 cities around the world to see which areas are the best to live in. Factors analysed by the study included:

Every city analysed was given a score out of 100 for each category. Individual categories were also given a specific weighting, with Stability and Culture & Environment being valued the most, followed by Healthcare, Infrastructure and Education. This then feeds into an overall score out of 100 - according to the EIU, a score of 80 or above is given to a city where “there are few, if any, challenges to living standards.” 

Global liveability scores reach 15-year high as Vienna takes top spot

This year, the EIU noted that average liveability scores worldwide have reached a 15-year high, with Upasana Dutt, the person in charge of the study, explaining that “the removal of COVID-related restrictions has overall boded well for global liveability in 2023.” Global average scores increased in all categories with the exception of stability, which declined slightly.

Like last year, the so-called “city of dreams”, Vienna, took the top spot in the ranking for 2023. The Austrian capital was praised for its reliable public transport, stand-out education and healthcare facilities and its wide selection of cultural activities and entertainment options. 

Copenhagen, Denmark and Melbourne, Australia rounded out the podium places. At the other end of the ranking, like last year the Syrian capital Damascus was ranked worst for liveability, followed by Tripoli, Libya and the Algerian capital Algiers. As a consequence of the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian capital Kyiv made its first appearance in the bottom 10.

Zurich and Geneva among the world's most liveable cities

Despite dropping one and three places respectively compared to last year, Geneva and Zurich found themselves among the top 10 most liveable cities in the world once again. Switzerland’s westernmost city placed joint seventh with a score 96,8 out of 100 and Zurich ranked sixth with 97,1 points.

While both cities were given perfect scores for Healthcare and Education and the same score for Infrastructure and Stability, Zurich managed to pip Geneva to sixth by getting a better rating for Culture and Environment. Interestingly, while both cities scored very well, they fell behind the front runners when it came to infrastructure - something those in the Swiss media blamed on the high cost and low availability of apartments and houses to rent.

European cities struggle to keep up with rising living standards

This slight decline in the ranking feeds into a wider trend noted by the EIU, where European cities, especially those in the UK, Sweden and Germany have plummeted down the order - Edinburgh in the UK and the Swedish capital Stockholm have seen their positions fall by 23 and 22 places respectively compared to last year.

When asked why European cities were ranked lower this year, the EIU noted that “none of these cities has seen a particularly sharp decline in their index scores, but they have failed to make the gains that many other cities - particularly those in Asia - have made in the past year.” This year, of the top 12 most liveable cities, four are in Europe, three are in Oceania, three are in North America and one is in Asia.

10 most and least liveable cities in the world in 2023

In all, here are the 10 most liveable cities in the world in 2023, according to the EIU:

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

On the flip side, here are the 10 cities which are the least liveable in 2023:

  1. Damascus, Syria
  2. Tripoli, Libya
  3. Algiers, Algeria
  4. Lagos, Nigeria
  5. Karachi, Pakistan
  6. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
  7. Dhaka, Bangladesh
  8. Harare, Zimbabwe
  9. Kyiv, Ukraine
  10. Douala, Cameroon

For more information about the study, please visit the EIU website.

Thumb image credit: Marina Datsenko /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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