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Are Zurich and Geneva really less ‘liveable' in 2023?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Are Zurich and Geneva really less ‘liveable' in 2023?
Geneva is in French-speaking Switzerland. Photo: Francisco Pizarro Ruiz from Pixabay

Switzerland's two largest cities slipped in the international ranking of world's most 'liveable cities', but are still in the top 10. Does it mean life there is getting worse?


The new Global Liveability Index 2023, released on Thursday by The Economist Intelligence Unit  (EIU), rates, as it does every year, how ‘liveable’ 173 cities around the world are, based on a variety of factors, such as healthcare, stability, infrastructure, education, culture, and environment.

In the 2022 edition, Zurich was in the third place, and Geneva in the sixth.

This year, however, both cities slipped in rankings, with a bigger drop for Zurich (to sixth place) than for Geneva (down one position to the seventh place).

Should residents of the two municipalities be worried?

Not necessarily.

On the positive side, both cities are — besides Vienna, which nabbed the number one spot — the only two European towns on the top-10 list.

That’s pretty good, considering that more than 170 were in the running.

Also, if you examine each category separately, you will see that they received high scores — in some categories more so than in others.

Where did the two cities did exceptionally well?

Both Zurich and Geneva score 100 points (the maximum) in the healthcare and education categories.

This means residents there have an easy access to high-quality, equitable health services, as well as educational opportunities.

Scores in the other categories are high also, and almost the same for both towns.: 95 for stability and 96.4 for infrastructure. The only difference is for culture and environment: Zurich received 96.3 points and Geneva 94.9.


Why did these cities get lower scores this year than last?

Interestingly enough, they didn’t.

They got the same number across all categories this year as in 2022, and in fact did slightly better in the education category.

The ETH Zurich, one the world's best universities, offers access to excellent education. Photo: AFP

So in essence, nothing has changed (at least not for the worse) for residents of either city — they can still enjoy the same high-standard of services as previously.

The reason for the drop is that other cities on the list, which were ranked lower in 2022, jumped up in this year’s survey.

For example, Melbourne and Sydney, which shared the 10th position last year, shot up to third and fourth place in 2023, dislodging Zurich and Geneva in the process.

So you might say that Australia’s gain is Switzerland’s loss — in a manner of speaking.


In what other areas do Switzerland’s cities outdo others?

It pretty much depends on a study and categories assessed in each survey.

As an example, Zurich and Geneva consistently rank among Europe’s most expensive cities, including in the Economic Intelligence Unit’s Cost of Living 2022 index.

READ ALSO: Why are Zurich and Geneva among the world's most expensive cities?

However, it’s not all bad.

The two also figure among the cities offering its residents the highest quality of life

But other Swiss cities  are getting their due as well.

Vaud’s capital Lausanne, for instance, was voted ‘the world's best small city’, even though it is not that small by Swiss standards.

READ ALSO: Swiss town ranked the 'world's best small city'


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