Hong Kong is less liveable following pro-democracy protests last year, according to the latest findings of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released today. Hong Kong has seen a decline of 3.2 per cent in its liveability score over the last 12 months as a result of heightened fears of unrest, the EIU’s global liveability ranking report said. The fall has pushed Hong Kong 15 places down the ranking into 46th, just above Singapore in 49th place. The two city states are now separated by just 0.1 percentage points, with Hong Kong scoring 88.8 per cent and Singapore 88.7. Survey editor Jon Copestake said: “Hong Kong’s liveability has been hit by the disruptive protests that took place last year.” “The city retains bragging rights over its regional competitor Singapore, but by a tiny margin. In fact both cities can still lay claim to being in the top tier of liveability where few, if any, aspects of life are restricted.” He noted instability and unrest had undermined the scores of a number of cities globally. The ranking, which provides scores for lifestyle challenges in 140 cities worldwide, shows that since 2010 average liveability across the world has fallen by 1 per cent, led by a 2.2 per cent fall in the score for stability and safety. Looking ahead, the EIU expects Hong Kong’s stability score to remain quite weak as the city still faces the possibility of more politically-charged protests. “At the moment, it’s difficult to get an agreement on [political reform]. It can be difficult to establish critical stability,” said Tom Rafferty, Asia economist for the EIU, in Beijing. Challenges to Hong Kong would also come from mainland cities such as Shanghai, which had the ambition to become a financial centre, he said. “Hong Kong is still to some extent a gateway to mainland China, but Chinese cities are rising quite rapidly. So its traditional function as a gateway is reducing. The city is not as strong as it used to be,” he said.