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Why is Vienna no longer the ‘most liveable’ city in the world?

After three consecutive years in first spot, Vienna has fallen twelfth in the latest global liveability rankings. Why?

Why is Vienna no longer the 'most liveable' city in the world?
A view of the city skyline from Vienna's Stephansdom. Photo: Roland Geider (Ogre)/Wikicommons

Vienna is no longer the most liveable city in the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranking in the the “Global Liveability Index”.

After topping the list since 2017, Vienna is now only ranked twelfth for quality of life.

READ MORE: Vienna ‘world’s most liveable city’ for second year in a row

The top three cities are the New Zealand port city of Auckland, followed by Osaka in Japan and Adelaide in Australia. Damascus in Syria occupies last spot on the list in 140th. 

Auckland’s first place was thanks to the “successful approach in containing the Covid-19 pandemic”, wrote the authors

This is the first time the rankings have been carried out since the start of the pandemic. 2020’s list was cancelled, meaning the previous figures are from 2019. 

Why has Vienna fallen so far?

As with many questions over the past 15 months, the answer has been “coronavirus”. 

Regarding Vienna, the authors said the second wave of the virus and the subsequent lockdowns had been particularly significant in the city’s fall to 12th. 

The EIU research unit found the coronavirus pandemic led to a global collapse in quality of life in the ranking, particularly affecting cities in Europe, due to lockdowns, a lack of cultural offerings and burdens on the health system.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on global liveability. Cities across the world are now much less liveable than they were before the pandemic began, and we’ve seen that regions such as Europe have been hit particularly hard.

The cities that have risen to the top of the rankings this year are largely the ones that have taken stringent measures to contain the pandemic.

New Zealand’s tough lockdown allowed their society to re-open and enabled citizens of cities like Auckland and Wellington to enjoy a lifestyle that looked similar to pre-pandemic life.

The ranking is based on the health system, education, culture and infrastructure along with social security, political stability and the crime rate.

Which cities were hardest hit?

While the coronavirus pandemic has spread around the globe, the impact has not been uniform. 

In Europe, Asia, Africa and much of North and South America, Covid-19 has forced lockdowns and put great strain on healthcare facilities. 

READ MORE: So why is Vienna the most liveable city in the world?

In some of the world’s more isolated countries however, the impacts have been comparatively minimal. 

In particular, Australia and New Zealand have been comparatively unscathed by the pandemic, while several Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan and Taiwan have also been able to avoid the worst parts of the pandemic. 

Six of the top ten cities were in Australia or New Zealand, with two more in Japan

The American city of Honolulu benefited from its relative isolation, rising by 46 places to 14th – the most of any city in the rankings. 

Zurich and Geneva were the only European cities that remained in the top ten.

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For members


Why (and when) double-digit inflation is set to hit Austria

Financial experts in Austria do not expect inflation to slow down any time soon. In fact, they are predicting the opposite. Here's what you need to know.

Why (and when) double-digit inflation is set to hit Austria

In a recent interview, inflation expert Josef Baumgartner forecast that inflation in Austria will hit double-digits in the coming months.

Baumgartner, from the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO), told Kurier that residents in Austria should prepare themselves for an ongoing increase in inflation due to rising energy prices.

Baumgartner said: “We’re a long way from the all-clear. According to the announcements by Wien Energie and EVN, I expect an inflation rate of more than ten percent by September, and no later than April 2023.”

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s ‘Tax Freedom Day’?

The latest estimate by Statistics Austria shows inflation was already at 9.2 percent in July, as reported by The Local.

This is in stark contrast to predictions made by the European Central Bank earlier this year when it was expected that inflation would fall in the second half of 2022.

How expensive could energy in Austria become?

WIFO expert Baumgartner based his forecast for Austria on wholesale electricity prices, which are currently 247 percent higher than in August 2021, reports ORF

Baumgartner said: “If the energy suppliers pass this on one-to-one, there is a risk of an enormous price increase.”

Additionally, Baumgartner expects prices for electricity and gas to go up by a further 50 percent in September, and was not optimistic that the planned nationwide electricity price cap will be enough to dampen energy prices.

READ MORE: Cost of living: How to save money on energy bills in Austria

He added that federal government intervention must go further to tackle gas and district heating prices.

On August 3rd, EVN and Wien Energie – both part of the Energieallianz Austria (EAA) group – announced they will be increasing energy prices from September.

EVN (which is mostly state-owned) blamed the move on price increases on the international wholesale markets.

According to ORF, Baumgartner believes these planned price increases will further impact the customer price index and push up inflation across Austria, even if the tariff changes only apply to customers in the east of the country.