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These Are the Top 10 Best and Worst Places to Live in the World—and You Won’t Find the U.S. on Either List

This week, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released their Global Liveability Index ranking of the top 10 best and 10 worst places to live in the world in 2022. The index scored 172 cities in five categories: culture, health care, education, infrastructure, and entertainment.

Cities in Scandinavia dominate the list of Most Liveable Cities thanks to the stability and good infrastructure in the region. These cities inhabitants are supported by good healthcare and numerous opportunities for culture and entertainment, according to the index. Year after year, cities in Austria and Switzerland tend to rank high among quality of life lists thanks to their well-developed social market economy.

Although 18 different countries are represented on these lists, you won’t find the U.S. ranked in the top 10 on either one. A representative for EIU told CNBC Make It via email that Atlanta, Georgia ranked as the most liveable US city, at number 26 on the list, while Washington D.C. came in close behind at number 30.

No. 1 best place to live in the world: Vienna, Austria

Overall rating: 95.1/100
Stability: 95
Healthcare: 83.3
Culture & environment: 98.6
Education: 100
Infrastructure: 100

Vienna, Austria, ranked first as the best place to live in the world. It held the position in 2018 and 2019 but slipped to 12th place in 2021.

Here’s the rest of the top 10 best places to live

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. Zurich, Switzerland
  4. Calgary, Canada
  5. Vancouver, Canada
  6. Geneva, Switzerland
  7. Frankfurt, Germany
  8. Toronto, Canada
  9. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  10. Osaka, Japan and Melbourne, Australia (tie)

No. 1 worst place to live in the world: Damascus, Syria

Overall rating: 172
Stability: 20
Healthcare: 29.2
Culture & environment: 40.5
Education: 33.3
Infrastructure: 32.1

Here’s the rest of the top 10 worst places to live

  1. Tehran, Iran
  2. Douala, Cameroon
  3. Harare, Zimbabwe
  4. Dhaka, Bangladesh
  5. Port Moresby, PNG
  6. Karachi, Pakistan
  7. Algiers, Algeria
  8. Tripoli, Libya
  9. Lagos, Nigeria
  10. Damascus, Syria

What the cities on the worst list all seem to have in common are some serious social issues and safety concerns. For example, the index stated that Damascus’s place on the list is likely a result of the social unrest, terrorism, and conflict affecting the Syrian city.

Lagos — the cultural capital of Nigeria — made the list because, according to the U.S. Department of State, it is known for crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime. 

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