Singapore ranks Asia’s most liveable cities for the 20th year in a row

Singapore position as Asia most liveable cities has been confirmed by global mobility specialist ECA International. The excellent infrastructure and facilities are complemented by low crime rates, and the country is not exposed to many social and political tensions. Singapore’s gap with other regional locations has decreased, but there are still improvements in other regions.

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ECA’s Location Ratings assess cities in more than 500 locations around the globe to determine the quality of living. The ranking takes into account a variety of factors including health services, housing, utilities and social networks. It also considers infrastructure, climate and personal safety as well as tensions between political parties and socio-political issues.

Hong Kong is still ranked among the top 10 cities in Asia for liveability. Its has seen its liveability improve since 2022 after the Covid-19 restrictions have been removed.

Hong Kong has dropped in the rankings of expats in Asia, falling from 17th place in 2013 down to 77th place in 2023.

In the wake of political protests and demonstrations that took place in 2014, and in 2019, we have seen a worsening of certain elements of our assessment relating to freedom of speech and socio-political conflict. Hong Kong has low crime, excellent infrastructure, recreational opportunities, and excellent facilities.

Hong Kong trails Singapore, Japan and Busan on the Korean Republic’s Asian rankings. Its ranking is negatively affected by factors such as the high pollution levels, the risk of typhoons causing disruption and the difficulty in finding accommodation.

Despite its natural disasters challenges, Tokyo is the 2nd most liveable Asian city. Tokyo is now the second-most liveable city, up from 9th place in 2013.

In the past decade mainland Chinese cities have seen a significant rise in rankings, despite some of the momentum they had during the COVID-19 Pandemic. For a few years, the zero-Covid policies and restrictions caused Chinese cities to drop in our rankings. We can compare our current assessment with five or 10 years ago and see how Chinese cities have significantly improved in terms of ranking.

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Some aspects of living in mainland China continue to pose challenges for expatriates. These include high levels of pollution and censorship as well as suboptimal healthcare. The rankings of cities such as Shenzhen, Xi’an and Wuhan are a result of improvements in transport infrastructure, international schooling and other areas.

Yangon is the place in Myanmar that has experienced the biggest fluctuations in the rankings during the past decade. In the years between 2013 and 2018 its ranking improved dramatically, following the restoration of civilian rule. The military seized control again in 2021 and this progress was reversed. Yangon now ranks 229th, down from its previous ranking of 10 years earlier.

In Southeast Asia there has been a small but noticeable improvement in the health and recreation facilities, transport infrastructure. These cities are more attractive for expats.

For example, Hanoi has moved from 160th position to 144th. Phnom Penh has also improved from 200th place to the 184th.

New Zealand and Australia cities are the most livable outside of Asia for Asian expatriates. Wellington and Adelaide share the second spot with Tokyo. Eindhoven (Netherlands) is the 7th-ranked European city, while Vancouver in Canada has the highest ranking of North American cities.

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