The world’s most liveable cities and why Australian cities are regularly in the top 10.

View of Sydney CITY skyline with VIEW OF Sydney harbour bridge and boats in the harbour

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recently released their annual Global Liveability Index for 2018. The index ranks 140 cities based on their urban quality of life, which essentially means how good they are to live in. We explain why Australian cities consistently feature in the top 10 every year and which areas they are performing well in to achieve these rankings.

The Global Liveability Index examines criteria such as stability, health care, culture, environment, education and infrastructure, and gives each city a score out of 100. After ranking number 1 for the past seven years, Melbourne was overtaken by Vienna, Austria in 2018. Despite this, three Australian cities featured in the top 10 for 2018; Melbourne (2nd), Sydney (5th) and Adelaide (10th). Australian cities score highly in each criterion, and this explains the reason why they appear amongst the top of the list every year.


One of the criterions for the index is stability. This takes into account factors such as prevalence of crime, threats of civil unrest or military conflict and the threat of terrorism. Australian cities are generally stable and characterised by low crime rates. In addition, the absence of any armed conflict or civil unrest, and the very low incidences of terrorism gives Australian cities a strong score in this criterion. In short, Australian cities are very peaceful and safe places to live!

Health Care

It comes as no surprise that access to quality health care and services is a key determinant of a city’s liveability and the well-being of its residents. Australia has a universal health care system, which means most medical costs are subsidised by the government for anyone who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident. Access to public hospitals and general practitioners (GPs) is covered by Australia’s health care system, which is consistently ranked amongst the best in the developed world according to numerous studies. If you live in an Australian city, you can rest assured knowing that you will easily be able to receive good and reliable health care.

Culture and Environment

This criterion encompasses a wide range of indicators including climate, level of corruption, social and religious freedom, level of censorship, availability of consumer goods and services, cultural and sporting accessibility and availability of food and drink.

Most of Australia’s cities are located in temperate climate zones characterised by warm summers, cool winters and a reasonable amount of annual rainfall. This means that Australian cities are spared from the extreme weather conditions experienced by many other places in the world.

Australia’s system of government, respect for the rule of law, independent judicial system as well its open and democratic values and institutions ensures there is freedom of religion, association and the press. It is one of most successful multicultural societies in the world and is a melting pot of cultures, food, traditions, beliefs and languages. Sport is a very popular Australian pastime. There is a strong history in terms of participation and as a spectacle across a large range of sports which continues until this day. Whichever sport you follow or are interested in, you will be able to find a local sports competition to join and get involved in.

Australia is also a major agricultural producer for export and domestic consumption. The country is well known for its fresh produce with beef, wheat, dairy products, fruit and vegetables being the largest produced commodities. Thus, there is no shortage of food and drink available across the cities and regions of Australia.

Furthermore, Australia has strong trade relations with many countries around the world, therefore residents have wide access to consumer goods and services. You can just about find any type of product and service in Australia as you would in any other place in the world!


Access to quality public and private education is another indicator of a city’s liveability. This includes primary, secondary and tertiary education. Australia’s education system is amongst the best in the world. In 2018, seven Australian universities featured in the world’s top 100 universities. Australia is a popular destination for international students, and this is demonstrated by the fact that international education is Australia’s third largest export, generating an income of over $21 billion in 2016/17. Completing your education in Australia’s world class education system or having Australian qualifications is highly regarded in many parts of the world.


The quality of a city’s road network, public transport, international air and sea access, utilities and housing are important indicators of liveability. Both Federal and State governments in Australia have invested significantly over many years to develop and deliver accessible and robust road and public transport networks, to cater to the ever growing needs of its residents and visitors alike. In addition to this, governments and the private sector have worked together to upgrade utilities such as airports, maritime docks, electricity and water supply as well as telecommunications networks. These investments have helped Australian cities consistently maintain their high rankings in the Global Liveability Index. For a resident of any Australian city, this means it is easier to get around the city and to get to other parts of the world. Also, it means that there is reliable and affordable electricity and telecommunications, as well as safe and clean water supply. These are all critical elements for any well functioning economy and society.

What do you think about Australian cities?

We wanna hear what you think about living in Australian cities. What makes your city so liveable compared to others?

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