Normal service resumed as HK ranks 31st for liveability in annual EIU survey

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 4:44am

Hong Kong's brief reign as the world's most liveable city has ended. The latest annual survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranks it 31st, after the city claimed top spot in a special, "light-hearted" survey it released last month.

Melbourne came first in the EIU's annual liveability rankings.

Hong Kong was ranked higher than any British city and ahead of most American cities.

For the annual survey, the EIU evaluated 140 cities this year based on five criteria: stability, health care, education, infrastructure as well as culture and environment. Cities are rated on a scale from 0 to 100.

Vienna was in second place, followed by the Canadian cities of Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary, and another Australian city, Adelaide.

The most liveable American cities are Honolulu (26) in Hawaii and Pittsburgh (30), while the highest-ranked British city is Manchester, which came in 51st.

Melbourne scored 5.5 points more than Hong Kong, which also came 31st in last year's survey.

Hong Kong scored well for health care services, but was weaker on culture and environment.

In July, using different criteria chosen by experts invited by the EIU to come up with a new way of interpreting its data, Hong Kong was found to be the most liveable city because its country parks and connectivity to other parts of the world were heavily weighted, survey editor Jon Copestake explained.

Of the EIU's annual survey, Copestake, based in London - which came in 55th - said that the much-criticised education system in Hong Kong was outstanding compared to that of other cities. He cited the city's high literacy rate for adults and youth and the high availability of public and private schools.

Other cities, he said, had only a handful of private schools for well-off families or were struggling with falling youth literacy rates.

EIU researchers said mainland cities were "notable movers" in the survey.

Guangzhou rose by six places to 83rd, while Shanghai jumped one spot to 78th.

Beijing, in 72nd place, was ranked the most liveable city on the mainland.

Asia's most liveable city is Tokyo, in 18th place. Among other Asian cities, Singapore is ranked 52nd, Seoul 58th and Taipei 61st.