Hard living: Hong Kong scores 70th in rank of world cities, lags Singapore

Hong Kong’s ranking remains stubbornly unchanged in this year’s Mercer study, sharing space with flagging Detroit and near dusty Dubai

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 February, 2016, 4:26pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 February, 2016, 9:33am

Hong Kong has been ranked 70th in a study on quality of living in cities around the world despite the social unrest it has been experiencing.

The city came in at the same spot as the American city of Detroit.

American human resources consultancy firm Mercer awarded scores to 230 cities worldwide between September and November last year based on 39 factors which expatriates regarded as important to their quality of life. These included political stability, economic environment, education, health and housing.

READ MORE: Quality of life in Hong Kong worsening with political struggles and astronomic housing prices, research finds

This year’s result for Hong Kong, which did not change from last year’s, meant the city remained the one with the highest quality of living in China. The ranking also put it just ahead of the Korean capital Seoul, which was ranked 73rd.

But Hong Kong’s score trailed far behind that of its regional rival Singapore, ranked 26th, as well as many European cities including Vienna and Zurich, which gained the two top spots in the survey.

Connie Leung, a consultant at Mercer, said: “Although there have been rising concerns around social issues in Hong Kong recently, the survey shows that quality of living and personal safety in Hong Kong remain at a relatively good standard compared to most other nearby cities in the region.”

Many top tier Chinese cities did not make it into the top 100 this year. Shanghai was placed at 101st, Beijing 118th, Guangzhou 119th and Shenzhen 137th.

Data for the survey was analysed between September and November last year, but assessments were then revised to reflect the latest developments in politics, economics and the environment.

Dr Chung Kim-wah, assistant professor of the Department of Applied Social Sciences of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said he overall agreed with the study finding because he also felt the quality of life in Hong Kong did not experience significant changes over the past year and was overall safe.

“Overall, the crime rate in the city is low and rent also started to fall slightly towards the end of last year. There were clashes between the police and citizens but their scale were mostly confined to one area,” said Chung.

According to the Hong Kong police last month, crime in the city last year fell to its lowest rate since 1979.

But, he said incidents such as the Mong Kok riot, which took place on the first day of Lunar New Year, could affect Hong Kong’s ranking if they occurred more often in the future.