life quality
Ranking: These cities are the best places to live


St. Stephen’s Cathedral in the center of Vienna’s city center – according to the city ranking, it’s worth living there. Photo: Roland Schlager/apa/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

According to a global ranking, Vienna has the best quality of life. Frankfurt is in 7th place. European cities have gained places, but the Ukraine war is casting a long shadow.

After the lifting of corona restrictions, several German-speaking cities count according to one Ranking again one of the most livable metropolises in the world.

In this year’s index of the British “Economist” group, Austria’s capital won Vienna returned to the top spot for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. The biggest winners year-on-year were Frankfurt, Hamburg and Düsseldorf. The three German cities each improved by around 30 places and ended up in 7th, 16th and 22nd place.

Last year, the quality of life in European metropolises was corona-Restrictions eased significantly, while life in the isolated island nation of New Zealand continued largely as normal. The result: Auckland landed in first place. With the lifting of the corona measures, however, conurbations in New Zealand, Australia and China slipped again in 2022.

Infrastructure and healthcare as plus points

According to the report, “well vaccinated” cities in Europe and Canada are once again dominating the top spots: Vienna is followed by Copenhagen, Zurich, Calgary, Vancouver and Geneva. The top ten include Frankfurt also Toronto and Amsterdam, as well as Osaka and Melbourne. Berlin and Munich take places 13 and 18.

The improved scores are due to the opening of shops, restaurants and museums, said Upasana Dutt, head of the quality of life index. “Education has improved as children are returning to schools and there has been a significant reduction in the burden on hospitals and healthcare systems,” she added.

Most of the top-ranked German cities score top marks for infrastructure and healthcare. However, when it comes to the factors “education” and “stability” – meaning the security situation – Germany is not in the top group.

While western Europe caught up, ratings in the east of the continent fell in the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine. Moscow and St. Petersburg dropped more than a dozen places, ranking 96th and 107th out of the 172 metropolitan areas ranked. The Ukrainian capital Kyiv was excluded from the ranking this year. Other cities such as Warsaw and Budapest were also downgraded because of the geopolitical situation in the region.

Conflicts and terrorism threaten quality of life

And then there are those at the bottom: Life is hardest in Damascus in Syria, Tripoli in Libya, Lagos in Nigeria and Algiers in Algeria, the analysts found. Violent conflicts and terrorism are the main reasons for the poor performance. Tehran, the capital of sanctions-plagued Iran, is also one of the last ten municipalities.

From the point of view of the study authors, the effects of the Ukraine war are the greatest risk for the urban quality of life in the coming months. Rising energy and food prices could trigger conflicts in some places. “Even where stability is not threatened, the cost crisis will dampen investment in infrastructure, health and education,” they warned.