Two Canadian cities among the most livable in the world, as Toronto drops out of the top 10

Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: July 3, 2024

The Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released their annual report of the world’s most livable cities, with two Canadian cities featuring prominently.

Every year EIU conducts their annual assessment and ranking of cities, based on factors including stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure—to create the Global Livability Ranking.

2024 saw Calgary, which previously held the seventh ranking, move up to fifth place—tying Geneva and switching spots with Vancouver (which in 2023 was ranked in fifth place, and now moves to seventh in the global ranking).

Notably, for the first time in three years, Toronto fell out of the global top 10 (now ranked 12th), after being ranked in ninth place in 2023. This year Vienna and Copenhagen took the first and second spots respectively, for the third year in a row. While 2023’s top 10 ranking featured 11 cities (due to a tie) this year’s contains 10. All cities in the 2024 top 10 were also present in the 2023 top 10.

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The table below has the full rankings for this year’s top 10.

EIU 2024 Rankings for most liveable cities in the world.

Two Canadian cities, Vancouver and Calgary, have ranked in the top 10 most liveable cities in the world, while Toronto ranked 12th.

Understanding the criteria

The EIU livability index is predicated on five different criteria, which are compiled to arrive at an overall score. These are:

  • Stability (presence of petty crime, violent crime, threat of terror, military conflict and/or civil unrest or conflict);
  • Healthcare (availability and quality of private and public healthcare, availability of over-the-counter drugs, and general healthcare indicators adapted from World Bank data);
  • Culture and Environment (humidity and temperature rating, discomfort of climate to travelers, level of corruption and censorship, social or religious restrictions, sporting and cultural availability, food and drink, and consumer goods and services);
  • Education (availability and quality of private education, and public education indicators taken from World Bank data); and
  • Infrastructure (quality of road networks, public transport, international links, water provision, energy provision, telecommunications, and availability of good quality housing).

Calgary

Once again ranked the most livable city in Canada, Calgary earned an overall score of 96.8. The city has historically performed well within stability, healthcare, and education rankings (where it scored a perfect 100) but continues to be hampered by lower scores in culture and environment, and infrastructure—though even here Calgary scored a 90 or above.

Along with Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver, Calgary has become one of Canada’s immigration hotspots, with many newcomers and Canadians alike moving to the city for lower taxes, more affordable rents, and strong school districts.

Vancouver

Though falling two places in this year’s rankings, Vancouver continues to be one of the world’s most livable cities, earning an overall score of 96.6.

The city continues to perform strongly in education and healthcare criteria (scoring 100 in each), but faced slightly lower scores in culture and environment, stability, and infrastructure.

Vancouver’s ranking has suffered recently due to persistent housing problems (which have been felt across Canada).Despite these issues, the city’s strengths (particularly around its healthcare and education sectors, as well as its prominent cultural features) have maintained its strong ranking.

Toronto

Toronto is absent from the top 10 rankings for the first time since 2021, falling to 12th in 2024. While the city has historically performed well under EIU’s criteria (with noted performance in stability, healthcare and education), Toronto’s position has suffered due to on-going housing issues. Particularly, an increase in the cost of housing, and shortfalls in housing availability have contributed to the city’s fall in rankings.

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