Singapore remains the world’s most liveable locations for Asian expatriates, but the gap separating it from Brisbane, Sydney and Osaka is closing due to air pollution, according to the latest Location Ratings survey published by ECA International.
“With low crime rates, decent medical facilities and excellent infrastructure, it comes as no surprise why Singapore tops our rankings time and time again,” said Lee Quane, regional director – Asia, ECA International.
Singapore still the most liveable city for Asian expat; Marina Bay pictured
The bad news? “We have witnessed a gradual decline in Singapore’s overall quality of living in the past five years due to the deteriorating air pollution situation, while cities such as Brisbane, Sydney and Osaka have all improved in terms of their overall liveability,” Quane said.
Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney occupy joint second place globally and in Asia-Pacific. Regionally, the most notable climb was by Australia’s Darwin, which rose from 24th place to 15th place in the global rankings as its housing situation has improved. Over the past five years, Darwin has climbed 39 places globally.
Osaka has the best living conditions of all locations researched in Japan, and is ranked fifth globally. All Japanese cities included in ECA International’s rankings are positioned within the global top 15 with Nagoya in at ninth; Tokyo and Yokohama sit in joint 11th position.
Hong Kong has fallen to 29th position in the global rankings and remains the 15th most liveable location in the Asia Pacific region. Back in 2013, Hong Kong was 11th worldwide and ninth in Asia-Pacific.
“The gap between Hong Kong and Singapore… has widened over recent years, due to worsening socio-political factors and curtailments to political freedom witnessed over the past 12 months,” said Quane.
Kuala Lumpur continued sliding downwards outside the global top 100. In 2013, the former was in 25th place regionally and 113th globally; this year, it came in at 27th and 118th respectively.
“In recent years, we have seen an increased threat from terrorism in Malaysia. While the Sabah region of the country is considered particularly dangerous for foreigners, risks have also increased in Kuala Lumpur in recent years. The impact of the seasonal forest fires in neighbouring Indonesia has also increased,” observed Quane.
Of China’s tier-one cities, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou all saw marginal improvements over the past year in terms of infrastructure. Shanghai rose three places in the past year to sit in 107th spot globally and remains the most liveable of the mainland Chinese locations assessed. It also saw the most significant improvements, with quality of health services, availability of goods and services and infrastructure all picking up.
Various Indian cities have seen marginal improvements. Bengaluru, ranked 174th globally, scored most favourably, followed by Mumbai and Pune (joint 183rd). New Delhi (205th) is the least liveable.
Along with Beijing, New Delhi has the worst score for air quality globally, but has moved up three spots from last year’s rankings owing to improvements in other categories. Chennai (195th) is the only Indian city to fall in global rankings this year, with increasing air pollution and severe flooding responsible.