Singapore ranked most liveable city in Asia for 20th consecutive year
According to ECA International’s annual Location Rating Report, global mobility specialist ECA International, Singapore is the most liveable city of Asia.
Singapore is a highly attractive destination for expatriates due to its excellent infrastructure, facilities, low crime rate and limited exposure to social-political tensions. ECA general manager for Asia. Singapore has improved but other regional locations are also improving. The gap between Singapore and other regions is decreasing.
ECA’s location ratings evaluate cities around the world to assess the quality of life for expats. The ranking is based upon various factors that affect liveability, such as the availability of health care, housing, utilities, social networks, leisure and recreational facilities, infrastructures, climate, personal security, tensions in society, and air quality.
Hong Kong has dropped in rankings in the past five years, but still ranks among the top 10 liveable Asian cities. Hong Kong’s overall ranking has improved since 2022 when the last Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.
Hong Kong’s liveability ranking for Asian expatriates has declined over the last decade, from 17th worldwide in 2013 to 77th by 2023. Our assessment of socio-political tensions, freedom of expression and other factors has deteriorated since 2014’s political demonstrations and 2019’s protests. Hong Kong, however, still offers excellent facilities, infrastructure and recreational options, as well as low crime rates, and is attractive compared to other places in the region.
Hong Kong ranks behind Singapore, Japan, and Busan (in the Korean Republic) in ECA’s Asian ranking. Hong Kong is disadvantaged by the inherent risk of disruption from typhoons and pollution, as well as difficulties in finding suitable accommodation.
Tokyo, despite the challenges of natural disasters and other factors, is the second-most liveable city in Asia for expatriates. Tokyo has indeed risen to the second spot from the ninth place in 2013, according to the latest ECA assessment.
Over the last decade, mainland Chinese cities climbed significant in the rankings even though they lost some momentum during the COVID-19 epidemic. Many Chinese cities fell in our rankings during the zero-Covid period and its associated restrictions. When we compare our current assessment to that of five or ten year ago, it is clear that Chinese cities are ranked higher now as the living conditions have improved.
There are still some aspects of mainland China that can be difficult for expatriates, including high pollution levels, censorship and inadequate healthcare. Improvements in areas like transport infrastructure and international education provision have led to cities such as Shenzhen, which ranked 137th in this year’s rankings compared to 152nd ten year ago.
Yangon, Myanmar has seen the most fluctuation in rankings in the last 10 years. After the return of civilian rule in 2013 and a strong economic boom, Yangon’s rankings improved significantly (from 225th place to 208th). This progress was reversed in 2021 when the military took over again, and Yangon has now dropped to 229th place, which is lower than 10 years ago.
There have been improvements to the transport infrastructure, health care and recreational facilities elsewhere in Southeast Asia. These improvements are small but significant. Expats are now more interested in these cities, such as Jakarta, which has risen from 213th place to 196th, Phnom Penh, from 200th to 18th, and Hanoi, up from 160th to 14th.
New Zealand and Australia have the best cities for Asians to live in. Wellington and Adelaide tied for second place with Tokyo. Eindhoven, Netherlands, is ranked 7th in Europe, and Vancouver, Canada, is rated highest in North America.