Singapore named the most livable location in the world for 15th year in a row


27 January 2021 – Singapore has once again retained its place as the most livable location for East Asian expatriates, continuing a trend which stretches back to 2005. This was one of the conclusions of the latest Location Ratings research published by global mobility expert, ECA International. “Singapore is top of the livability rankings for the 15th year in a row as its superior infrastructure, low pollution and large expatriate communities continue to appeal to overseas workers” said Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia at ECA International. “Moreover, while Singapore imposed a circuit breaker to manage the outbreak of Covid-19 within its borders in 2020, the scale of its lockdown was less severe than other locations in the region.”

  • Singapore is once again the most livable location in the world for East Asian expatriates
  • Hong Kong rose up 35 place from last year and is now ranks 58th most livable location in the world for East Asian expatriates
  • Many cities see big drops in their rankings, owing to the widespread impact of Covid-19

Asia Pacific Highlights

Hong Kong has seen a significant rebound in its position in ECA’s livability rankings, as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the city was softened by the fall in socio-political tensions and crime rates.

Quane said, “Hong Kong has rebounded in our latest livability rankings after the protests seen throughout 2019 abated last year. Disruptions to the transportation network due to the protests, recovered while crime rates fell. Moreover, Hong Kong was spared from typhoons of a scale similar to those which caused disruption to the city in 2019. However, despite the overall recovery, some areas of Hong Kong’s score did worsen.  This includes the freedom of news and media, which has been impacted by the recently introduced national security legislation. As a result, Hong Kong’s ranking remains significantly lower than in 2018.”

  • Hong Kong rebounded significantly in rankings to become the 58th most livable location for expatriates, from 93rd place
  • Australian cities see notable fall in rankings, with Brisbane and Adelaide dropping out of the top ten
  • Taipei climbs back into the top 50 most livable locations, moving up to 46th place

In contrast, the Taiwanese capital Taipei has climbed back into the top 50 most livable locations after maintaining the same score as last year, while many other locations fell.

Quane explained, “Although Taipei’s score has not directly improved from last year, the city moved up to 46th place in the rankings as a result of many other locations, mostly European and Australian cities, moving down the rankings. Furthermore, Taiwan has seen relatively low levels of Covid-19 cases as compared to these cities, and has therefore managed to avoid imposing large-scale restrictions on recreational lifestyles that we have seen elsewhere in 2020.”

Photo: KK Hotels

Global Highlights

Nearly every European city included in the rankings saw a drop this year, as Covid-19 restrictions impacted livability scores. Major cities such as Rome and Lisbon fell over 20 places from last year, while Paris dropped out of the top 100 most livable locations for the first time. The Nordic cities of Copenhagen, Denmark, Stavanger, Oslo and Aarhus, Denmark however rose to the top with Copenhagen ranking 6th and Stavanger and Aarhus ranking 10th.

Quane said, “Although the effects of Covid-19 were felt throughout the world, with virtually every location in our rankings enacting measures of some sort in order to minimize the spread of the virus, these measures were especially stringent in European and Latin American countries. Lockdowns have been seen across Europe, with travel being severely impacted. This implies that freedom of movement scores have been affected as well as recreation scores. We have also seen cities such as Paris implement curfews, which has affected livability scores even further. Although we expect these to be short-term measures, it has nonetheless caused livability scores to change for most European locations and they have therefore dropped dramatically in the rankings.”

Top 20 Most Livable Locations for East Asian Expatriates
Location
2020/21 ranking
2019/20 ranking
Singapore
1
1
Wellington, New Zealand
2
7
Nagoya, Japan
3
3
Osaka, Japan
3
3
Tokyo, Japan
3
3
Copenhagen, Denmark
6
9
Yokohama, Japan
6
9
Auckland, New Zealand
6
12
Austin, United States of America
9
21
Stavanger, Norway
10
16
Aarhus, Denmark
10
21
Brisbane, Australia
12
2
Gothenburg, Sweden
12
24
Adelaide, Australia
14
7
Utrecht, Netherlands
14
11
Bern, Switzerland
14
12
Eindhoven, Netherlands
17
12
Basel, Switzerland
17
24
Vancouver, Canada
17
27
San Francisco, United States of America
17
36

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