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 tough time in the United States that has many Americans wondering what else is out there.

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

Vienna, Austria was named the best place to live in the world, followed by Copenhagen in second, Zurich in third and Calgary in fourth. In fact, many European and Canadian cities topped the list of best cities to live in due to factors such as stability and good infrastructure.

But what about the United States? This year, the US didn’t make the top 10 best places to live — or even the top 25.

The top-rated US city was Atlanta, which came in 26th overall, making it the best city to live in the country but only 26th for the best places to live worldwide. Next on the list was Washington DC at #29, followed by Honolulu at #30, Pittsburgh (yes, Pittsburgh) at #36. Rounding out the US top five list was Los Angeles

So what’s up? “Many of [the U.S. cities] Compared to some of the top-ranked cities in Europe and Canada, it performed relatively poorly in terms of stability and healthcare,” says Upasana Dutt, Head of the Liveability Index at EIU. “There are a few long-standing structural factors that prevent many US cities from challenging other cities in advanced economies at the top of the rankings, such as:

Another problem: “U.S. cities also have extraordinarily expensive healthcare systems that are capable of providing quality care, but only to those who can afford it,” Dutt says.

But it wasn’t all bad news for the United States. The top 10 US cities still rank in the top tier for quality of life (defined as a score of 80 and above). “These cities, including the more populous ones like Los Angeles and Chicago, all perform exceptionally well in the culture and education categories,” says Dutt.

Other positive areas for the US: “In the last edition, US cities saw significant improvements in cultural and environmental, health and education categories previously impacted by the pandemic,” says Dutt. “These improvements are due to the reopening of facilities, the lifting of restrictions and the reduction in waiting times to access public and health services.”

At least the US wasn’t among the top 10 worst places to live in the world. But we still have a long way to go.

Read on for rankings of the best US cities to live in, best places to live in the world, and worst places to live in the world.

The 10 best places to live in the US

Here are the top 10 cities in the US and where they rank on the overall list of most liveable cities.

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

The 10 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


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