HK slips four places to 39th in liveability survey

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 June, 2009, 12:00am

Living conditions in Hong Kong are getting slightly worse, says an international study that ranks it the 39th most liveable city in the world - down four places from last year.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit's liveability survey - which assessed 140 cities in terms of their living conditions - Hong Kong scores 90.9 out of 100, 0.7 points lower than a year ago.

Vancouver remains at the top of the chart with 98 points, followed by Vienna, Melbourne, Toronto and Perth. Hong Kong ties with Madrid and is the third most liveable city in Asia. It trails Osaka, which grabbed 13th place (95.2 points), and Tokyo (94.7 points) in 19th place.

The study gave ratings ranging from 1 to 100 - where 1 is intolerable and 100 is considered ideal - based on more than 30 factors related to stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. A rating of 80 or more 'will have few, if any, challenges to living standards'.

Jon Copestake, an editor at the EIU, said yesterday: 'Hong Kong ... occupies the very top tier of liveability and the fall in the ranking reflects a tiny drop, 0.7 percentage points, in liveability. This is based on a slight movement of only one or two factors, and the notable thing would be a slightly lower availability of good quality housing.'

Hong Kong gets full marks for education, while health care is the poorest performing area at 83.3 per cent. The city scored 92.9 per cent on infrastructure this year, down from 96 per cent a year ago.

With the exception of high scores in Australasia and some Asian centres, North American and European cities continue to dominate the top tier of the chart. Canadian cities hold three of the top five slots in the list, while the rest of the top 10 are from Europe or Australia.

The second highest ranked Chinese city is Tianjin , placing 72th with 75.3 points, followed by Suzhou in 74th place and Beijing 76th.

Singapore, Hong Kong's perennial rival, came 54th with 88.5 points.

The research report said: 'At the other end of the ranking, most of the poorest performing locations are in Africa or Asia, where civil instability and poor infrastructure present significant challenges.'

The least desirable city is Harare, Zimbabwe, which scored 37.5 points because of its unfolding political and economic crisis.