EU, East Asia dominate InterNations Quality of Life Index

Taipei 101

It’s a new year and a new start for many, who will be assessing their lot in a rapidly changing world. Few things can be relied on anymore, from job security to political stability. Brexit is naturally forcing a rethink among people resident in the UK, and the US has surprisingly and controversially introduced a travel ban. And it will likely get more problematic still.

Amidst so much uncertainty, the pursuit of quality of life by international migrants almost seems a luxury. Never mind children’s education, decent healthcare and hours of sunshine; how about just holding down a job and being allowed to stay in the country?

It’s a question I’m pondering as I’m scanning the latest Quality of Life Index from InterNations. Nine EU destinations, are listed in the top 20. With the UK hellbent on leaving Europe and burning bridges,  British passport holders might want to reconsider relocating to any of these countries long-term, at least until visa and travel rules become clearer.

Beyond the EU, two neighbouring East Asia countries sit in the top 3. Taiwan tops the index of 67 countries, with a whopping 99% of respondents rating their personal safety favourably and 89% reporting satisfaction with the territory’s peacefulness. Japan was in third, with those polled rating it highly for transport and again peacefulness.

But again, with tensions rising over the South China Sea, and Trump irritating China over Taiwan,  the situation in East Asia is looking pricklier than usual.

As for last year’s index winner, Singapore, the city-state dropped to eight in 2016., while still ranking first for Travel & Transport.

And finally, the countries to avoid (you might also want to add the US if you hail from a Muslim-majority country): Nigeria is worst for quality of life, followed by Mozambique and Kuwait.

Here is the Quality of Life Index in full:

Quality of Life Index 2016

Miami is world’s most inspiring city, Travelbird study shows

Miami by night

In a surprising survey to identify the world’s most stimulating cities, both in results and methodology, Miami emerged with the highest “inspirational ranking”.

Popular Belgian tourist destination Bruges was named the world’s second most inspiring city on the list compiled by Dutch travel company Travelbird (the film In Bruges springs to mind, whose characters have a wholly different sentiment altogether).

San Francisco, heart of the global tech revolution, was third, ahead of creative cities Bristol and Reykjavik, with the full top 10 as follows:

  1. Miami
  2. Bruges
  3. San Francisco
  4. Bristol
  5. Reykjavik
  6. Santiago de Compostela
  7. Salzburg
  8. Zurich
  9. Heidelberg
  10. Florence

Chiang Mai, a city popular with remote workers, and said to be the top city for digital nomads to live and work in, was ranked 14th.

The survey looked at 85 cities worldwide and measured across categories that included creativity, romance, culture and innovation, counting for instance the number of performing arts companies, art schools, galleries and museums present in each location.

London perceived as the world’s best city, PwC report shows

London phone box

City rankings are all the rage these days. This year we have seen surveys from Mercer, the EIU and Monocle. Any day now, I’m expecting to see the World’s Best Cities to Celebrate the Festive Season (with the likes of Vienna emerging top again).

Most recently, PwC have joined the throng, revealing the world’s Best Cities as voted for by the public across a range of factors such as politics, food, happiness, culture and business. The report was conducted in collaboration with BAV Consulting, polling 5,200 decision makers, informed elites and other members of the public from 16 countries (I’m not sure why so few countries were targeted) in December 2015.

Unsurprisingly, it’s the so-called “world cities” that dominate international affairs and fill column inches that have won most recognition. They have a left an imprint on the public consciousness.

London (which enjoys by far most media attention in the UK) is seen as the world’s greatest city, with perennial superbrands Paris and New York completing the top three:

    1. London
    2. Paris
    3. New York
    4. Amsterdam
    5. Sydney
    6. Berlin
    7. Tokyo
    8. Toronto
    9. Stockholm
    10. Los Angeles

It’s hard to see London displaced any time soon. Brexit is unlikely to hurt London’s ranking, a question posed by PwC in their report. The UK capital has a history of battling through crises. More than anything, its capacity to remain resilient and reinvent itself throughput the years underlines its appeal, like all successful brands.

Yet while the traditional triumvirate are seen as the most influential, they might not necessarily be the most liveable cities. Young people are keen to move away from expensive cities, and from London in particular.

PwC’s findings are especially interesting as a report was released in parallel showing how cities were performing in “reality”, based on hard facts instead of perception. The report, Cities of Opportunity, showed that while London came top again, Singapore and Toronto emerged second and third best, respectively:

  1. London
  2. Singapore
  3. Toronto
  4. Paris
  5. Amsterdam
  6. New York
  7. Stockholm
  8. San Francisco
  9. Hong Kong
  10. Sydney

It appears that Hong Kong and Singapore have an image problem!