The overall global average liveability score has fallen by seven points, as compared with the average pre-pandemic score, a report by The Economist Intelligence Unit showed.
According to their Global Liveability Index 2021, the extent to which cities were sheltered by strong border closures, their ability to handle the health crisis and the pace at which they rolled out vaccination campaigns drove significant changes in the rankings.
Auckland, in New Zealand, is at the top of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability rankings, owing to the city’s ability to contain the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic faster and thus lift restrictions earlier, unlike others around the world.
Six of the top ten cities in the March 2021 survey are in New Zealand or Australia, where tight border controls have allowed residents to live relatively normal lives.
Many European and Canadian cities have fallen down the rankings, having battled a second Covid-19 wave by restricting cultural and sporting events, and closing schools and restaurants.
The lower end of the rankings has seen less change, with the Syrian capital, Damascus, still the least liveable city in the world.
Healthcare scores fell after the onset of the pandemic in most cities across the world, with the least affected cities concentrated in western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
The pace of recovery of liveability in most regions will be determined by how effectively the health risks of the pandemic can be controlled, through a combination of vaccination, testing, tracing and quarantine measures.
Weak healthcare systems could come under greater strain, as they have in India. A slower inoculation drive would result in a more strict lockdown, thereby affecting the expected recovery in economic growth. This, in turn, could affect other categories, including stability.
Data for this survey has been collected from February 22nd to March 21st, 2021.