The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 15th Global Liveability Ranking assessed 30 factors divided among five areas to assess quality of life in 140 cities worldwide. The five areas included stability, infrastructure, education, healthcare and environment.
Leading the 2017 index, the world’s most liveable city, Melbourne in Australia, scored full marks (100 points) for health care, education and infrastructure. Its overall score was 97.5 out of a possible 100 points.
The Austrian capital Vienna placed second in the index with a total of 97.4 points, followed by Canada’s Vancouver with 97.3. Toronto was ranked fourth, while another Canadian city, Calgary, tied with Australia’s Adelaide for fifth position. Perth in Australia ranked seventh, ahead of Auckland New Zealand in eighth place and Hamburg, which rounded out the top 10 after Helsinki.
Helsinki, which came in ninth with 95.6 points, scored full marks for stability and health care, but posted weak results for cultural experiences and the environment. The Nordic city received fairly high marks for education though – 91.7, while in terms of infrastructure, the city was awarded 96.4 points.
Climate and lack of private schools
The evaluation of cultural and environmental factors looks specifically at climate, corruption and the degree of censorship, as well as religious restrictions, sports and cultural activities and the availability of food and drink, goods and services.
In spite of its much-vaunted public schooling system, Helsinki saw its education score decline because of the short supply of private schools.
Overall, the publication looked at three areas in assessing educational opportunities: the level of public education, the availability of private schooling and the level of private education. For travellers and migrants, access to private education may play a more important role than for long-term residents.
Stockholm in neighbouring Sweden fared poorly in the index, coming in 26th with 92.1 points. The reasons for its decline include the terrorist truck attack that took place in the heart of the city in April, killing five people and injuring 14 others.
Helsinki has appeared in the Economist's top 10 several times, ranked tenth last year and eighth the year before.