global liveability index 2021

Toronto slides way down the rankings of the most livable cities in the world

The latest global liveability index for 2021 took a big hit from pandemic lockdowns in cities around the world, and it knocked Toronto and other Canadian cities down the ladder of livability, according to The Economist’s Global Liveability Index 2021 report.

The Liveability Index ranks 140 cities and is based on data gathered from Feb. 22, 2020 to March 2021, by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, the sister company to The Economist magazine. The report was released on June 9.

This year, it may come as no surprise, the global average livability score has fallen by seven points, as compared with the average pre-pandemic score.

"The pandemic has caused huge volatility in our bi-annual Liveability index, which ranks 140 cities across five areas: stability, healthcare, education, culture and environment, and infrastructure," the report states.

Not all of the world's cities dealt with the pandemic in the same way, however. Six of the top 10 cities in the March 2021 survey are in New Zealand or Australia, where tight border controls have allowed residents to live relatively normal lives.

global livability index 2021

As Toronto residents know, COVID-19 cases surged and hospitals became overwhelmed, prompting a series of lockdowns, stopping large gatherings, cancelling events, closing bars, limiting shopping, trips to the gym and even haircuts.

Some of the biggest slips in the rankings were in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Dusseldorf in Germany, the report reads.

But Canada also gets a mention.

"Canadian cities such as Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, which have previously scored highly, have also slipped," the report reads. "The downward movement in rankings for the European and Canadian cities can be attributed to the heightened stress on healthcare resources during the second wave of the pandemic."

global livability index 2021

In 2019, Toronto was number seven in the top 10 cities, but this year we didn't crack the top 10 - landing at number 20. There was no report in 2020 due to the pandemic. Montreal saw one of the biggest dips in the index moving down 19 spots to rank number 40.

The new leader is Auckland. Owing to border closures and a consequently low Covid-19 case count, New Zealand has been able to keep its theatres, restaurants and other cultural attractions open, the report notes.

Japanese cities of Osaka and Tokyo ranked second and fourth, respectively, owing to continued high stability scores. In third place is Adelaide in Australia

That is not to say this is the only benchmark for Toronto — there are several other rankings out there putting the city anywhere from number 98 for cost of living to number 13 in the world's best cities.

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