Vienna named world’s most livable city for 3rd time now Covid-19 restrictions have ended

As a Brit who will have lived in Vienna, Austria for six years next month, I am proud that the British newspaper The Economist continues to name Vienna as the world’s most livable city.

That honor happened again this year, with Vienna named the world’s most livable city by The Economist’s ‘sister company’ EIU in its ‘Global Livability Index‘.

This is the third time in the last five years Vienna has captured the top spot.

Not surprising to me, of course, as, just like the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) chose Vienna as #1 due to its safety, stability, infrastructure, culture, healthcare and education system, most of those are reasons why I continue to live in the Austrian capital city.

(Education isn’t a factor for me, as I don’t have kids, and I don’t plan on studying at a university).

Throw in that, as capital cities go, Vienna is ridiculously affordable, a fabulous city to walk around, and that the public transportation system is second to none, and it is no wonder people from all over the world flock to Vienna to live here.

Meanwhile, after Vienna, the second through fifth places on the index were nabbed by Copenhagen, Zurich, Calgary and Vancouver — so one Danish, one Swiss and two Canadian cities.

Vienna dropped from the Top 10 in 2021

For Vienna to be back at #1, however, is not due to anything the Austrian government has done.

In fact, the opposite is true.

That’s because Vienna was dropped from the Top 10 cities in the Global Livability Index in 2021 after being number 1 in both 2018 and 2019, and much of that was likely due to the Austrian government’s authoritarian response to Covid-19.

After all, when FFP2 masks were mandated everywhere indoors, when Vienna was in lockdown for more weeks than almost any other city on the planet, with almost all shops and all restaurants closed, and when the unvaccinated were excluded from society for the better part of four months last year, nobody in their right minds would have called Vienna ‘one of the most livable cities’ back then.

The Economist explained it this way:

“Vienna, which slipped to 12th place in our rankings in early 2021 as its museums and restaurants were closed, has since rebounded to first place, the position it held in 2018 and 2019.

Stability and good infrastructure are the city’s main charms for its inhabitants, supported by good healthcare and plenty of opportunities for culture and entertainment”

According to the Global Livability Index 2022 paper (which you can download in full here) Vienna’s livability ranking is now back at #1 partially due to what they say is — “a rollback of covid-19 restrictions that translated into liveability rankings resembling those seen before the pandemic.”

Let’s hope the Austrian government doesn’t reimplement its crazy Covid-19 restrictions going forward then, eh?

Particularly as none of them prevented Covid from spreading just like the virus did in every other city on the planet anyway.

Neither did they do anything to better the lives of those of us living in Vienna.

In fact, they did nothing but make things so much worse.

But hey, Vienna is now back at #1 on the Global Livability Index, so at least we have something to be thankful for, eh?

About Michelle Topham

I'm a journalist, and the founder of Oh My Vienna. I have been living in Vienna since 2016 as an immigrant, because 'expat' is just a fancy word that means exactly that.