Thinking About Moving? These Are the Most Livable Cities in the World Right Now

The best places to live in 2021 are concentrated in one part of the world.
June 10, 2021, 11:06am
New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand is the most liveable city on earth, according to a new survey. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

It’s not just you. Despite pandemic travel restrictions, many people are considering moving, sometimes abroad, in search of a new life. If you’re one of those people, you could do worse than look to East Asia and the Pacific.

Eight cities in the Asia-Pacific region rank in the 10 most livable cities in the world, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The research firm’s Global Liveability Index has crowned Auckland, New Zealand, as the best place to live in 2021. Wellington, another city in the island country, ranked fourth. Cities in Japan and Australia took six other spots on the top-ten list.

The rankings reflect in part the cities’ success in fending off COVID-19.


Auckland was able to contain the virus much more effectively than most other locations. Unlike many cities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Italy, Auckland has kept its schools open throughout the pandemic. 

On Thursday, New Zealand broke its own record for its longest stretch with no community transmission, with 103 days. The country has recorded a total of 26 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, one of the lowest in the world. 

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Wouldn't mind seeing this sunset from Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images

Osaka, Japan ranked second, owing to its low crime rates, the report said. The annual report ranked the city fourth before the pandemic.

Tokyo, the Japanese capital, took Osaka’s former position this year, and was tied with Wellington. Both Japanese cities scored 100 points in the healthcare category, though Osaka fared better in infrastructure.

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Osaka, Japan was ranked the world's second most liveable city. Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images

European cities have generally slipped in the rankings, largely due to the prevalent social restrictions put in place to contain COVID-19. The German cities of Hamburg and Frankfurt slipped the most, moving down 34 and 29 ranks, respectively. Germany, as well as other members of the European Union, experienced “heightened stress on healthcare resources during the second wave of the pandemic,” the report said.

Though London’s been ranked as the most desirable city to work in a study by Boston Consulting Group and Totaljobs, it seems like it only ranks 60 in most livable. It might be the £1.45 ($2) single red pepper, or smelly buses during the summer. 


The report analyzed data from February to March, a period when many of those cities experienced their second or third wave of COVID-19.

Two notable exceptions are Zurich and Geneva, which rank seventh and eighth in the 2021 report, respectively. The Swiss cities had to impose restrictions on social gatherings during the pandemic, docking points in the culture and environment category, but its healthcare system was not as strained as some other European cities. 

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The Southern Australian city, Adelaide, ranked third this year. Photo: Universal Images Group via Getty Images

To rank the cities, the researchers scored each location in five categories: stability, healthcare, education, culture and environment, and infrastructure. Factors include crime rates, weather, public transportation, and housing. 

The U.S. cities of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Houston, Texas, climbed most in the ranking, owing to their handling of the pandemic. 

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The Japanese capital Tokyo ranked fourth, tied with Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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Wellington, New Zealand, tied in fourth place with Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Martin Gruenzweig/Oneworld Picture/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Syrian city of Damascus ranks at the bottom, due to the effects of the country’s civil war. 

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