Helsinki scored full marks for stability and health care in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s  2017 Global Liveability Report.
Helsinki scored full marks for stability and health care in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2017 Global Liveability Report.


Helsinki has retained its position inside the top ten of an annual ranking of the most liveable cities in the world published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The Finnish capital was ranked as the ninth most liveable city in the world for the second consecutive year after earning a total score of 95.6 per cent in the 2017 Global Liveability Report, a report quantifying lifestyle challenges in 140 cities across the world.

Its score was 2.1 percentage points lower than that of first-place Melbourne (AUS) and 2.0 percentage points lower than that of second-place Vienna (AUT).

The EIU's list of the ten most liveable cities in the world today:

  • 1 Melbourne (AUS)
  • 2 Vienna (AUT)
  • 3 Vancouver (CAN)
  • 4 Toronto (CAN)
  • 5 Calgary (CAN)
  • 5 Adelaide (AUS)
  • 7 Perth (AUS)
  • 8 Auckland (NZL)
  • 9 Helsinki (FIN)
  • 10 Hamburg (DEU)

The top ten of the annual ranking was yet again dominated by cities in Australia and Canada – with Vancouver (CAN), Toronto (CAN) and Calgary (CAN) rounding out the top five, and with Adelaide (AUS) sharing fifth place and Perth (AUS) coming in seventh.

Helsinki scored full marks in the stability and health care categories, but it was also one of only two cities in the top ten that failed to earn full marks in the education category.

The EIU assesses the relative level of comfort in each of the cities by means of more than 30 quantitative and qualitative indicators that can be grouped into five main categories: stability; health care; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure.

“Each factor in a city is rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable. For qualitative indicators, a rating is awarded based on the judgement of in-house analysts and in-city contributors. For quantitative indicators, a rating is calculated based on the relative performance of a number of external data points,” it explains in the summary of the 2017 Global Liveability Report.

The EIU is the research and analysis division of The Economist Group.

The latest edition of the ranking has drawn criticism due to the emphasis it seems to place on the recent terror attacks in Manchester (GBR), Paris (FRA) and Stockholm (SWE). Manchester, for example, took the biggest step back in this year's ranking, dropping from 43rd in 2016 to 51st in 2017, following the deadly bombing of the Manchester Arena on 22 May, 2017.

“Just because there was one attack in a city is not to say there would be another, just as if there has not been an attack in a city it means that it is well protected,” Richard Barrett, a director at the Global Strategy Network and a former head of counter-terrorism at MI6, commented to the Guardian.

The EIU also reiterated the conclusion that the most liveable cities on the planet tend to be cities in wealthy countries with a relatively low population density.

“Six of the ten top-scoring cities are in Australia and Canada, which have, respectively, population densities of 2.9 and 3.7 people per square kilometre. Elsewhere in the top ten, Finland and New Zealand both have densities ranging between 15 and 18 people [per square kilometre] of land area,” it highlights.

Such cities, it adds, can foster “a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure”.

The global population density is approximately 57 people per square kilometre of land area, according to data collated by the World Bank.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Teemu Salonen – Lehtikuva