The US Is Not One Of The World’s Best Places To Live: Here’s Why

Between abortion rights, crime, racial tensions, politics and inflation—not to mention a never-ending pandemic—it’s been a rough time in the United States, leaving many Americans wondering what else is out there.

Every year, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranks the best places to live around the world in the Global Liveability Index 2022, as well as the worst places to live. This year, the list looked at 172 cities and based the ranking on a number of categories, including stability, healthcare, culture, education and infrastructure.

Vienna, Austria, was named the best place to live in the world, followed by Copenhagen at number two, Zurich at number three and Calgary at number four. In fact, many European and Canadian cities dominated the list of best cities to live, due to factors like stability and good infrastructure.

But what about the United States? This year, the U.S. didn’t crack the top 10 list of best places to live—or even the top 25, for that matter.

The highest ranked U.S. city was Atlanta, coming in at number 26 on the overall list—making it the best city to live in the country, but only the 26th best place to live in the world. Next up on the list was Washington D.C. at 29, followed by Honolulu at 30, Pittsburgh (yes, Pittsburgh) at number 36. Los Angeles rounded out the top five list for the U.S.

So what gives? “Many of [the U.S. cities] scored relatively low in the areas of stability and healthcare when compared to some of the top ranking cities in Europe and Canada,” says Upasana Dutt, head of Liveability Index at EIU. “There are a few longstanding structural factors that impede many U.S. cities from challenging other cities in advanced economies at the top of the rankings, such as a greater incidence of social unrest, which is often rooted in the country’s ongoing racial inequalities.”

Another issue: “U.S. cities also have an extraordinarily expensive healthcare system that is capable of delivering high-quality care but only to those who can afford it,” says Dutt.

But it wasn’t all bad news for the United States. The top 10 U.S. cities were still in the top tier of liveability (defined as the score of 80 and above). “These cities, including the more populous ones, such as Los Angeles and Chicago, all score exceptionally well in the culture and education categories,” says Dutt.

Other positive areas for the U.S.: “In the latest edition, U.S. cities witnessed considerable improvements in the culture and environment, healthcare and education categories, which were earlier affected by the pandemic,” says Dutt. “These improvements are attributable to the reopening of facilities, removal of restrictions, and the reduction in waiting times for access to public and healthcare services.”

At least the U.S. didn’t rank as one of the 10 worst places to live in the world. But still, we have a long way to go.

Read on for the ranking of the best U.S. cities to live, the best places to live in the world and the worst places to live in the world.

The 10 Best Places to Live in the U.S.

Here are the top 10 cities in the U.S. and where they ranked on the overall Most Liveable Cities List.

  1. Atlanta (number 26 overall)
  2. Washington D.C. (number 29 overall)
  3. Honolulu, Hawaii (number 30 overall)
  4. Pittsburgh (number 36 overall)
  5. Los Angeles (number 37 overall)
  6. Seattle (number 39 overall)
  7. Miami (number 41 overall)
  8. Chicago (number 41 overall)
  9. Boston (number 45 overall)
  10. San Francisco (number 46 overall)

The 1o Best Places to Live in the World

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. Zurich, Switzerland
  4. Calgary, Canada
  5. Vancouver, Canada
  6. Geneva, Switzerland
  7. Frankfurt, Germany
  8. Toronto, Canada
  9. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  10. Osaka, Japan and Melbourne, Australia (tie)

10 Worst Places to Live in the World

  1. Tehran, Iran
  2. Douala, Cameroon
  3. Harare, Zimbabwe
  4. Dhaka, Bangladesh
  5. Port Moresby, PNG
  6. Karachi, Pakistan
  7. Algiers, Algeria
  8. Tripoli, Libya
  9. Lagos, Nigeria
  10. Damascus, Syria

READ MORE:

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Crime In America: Study Reveals The 10 Most Unsafe Cities (It’s Not Where You Think)

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