Best 100 Cities?


Best 100 Cities: Tourist Destination vs. Livability Rank

The following study is an attempt to objectively explore the truism:

 

“Nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there” 

 

The operational version of this truism would be that tourist cities and livable cities are different cities. The Twilight Zone explored this concept at a surreal level in the Episode, “A Nice Place to Visit” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Nice_Place_to_Visit)

The truism has been named the Visit/Live Theory for the purposes of this study.  Two lists that rank cities were compared.  The first list ranks cities according the number of tourists that arrived in a city.

 

The list and a description of the list can be found at:

 

http://www.euromonitor.com/Top_150_City_Destinations_London_Leads_the_Way

 

The second list ranks cities according to livability.   Mercer Human Resources looked at 39 quality of life issues including political stability, currency-exchange regulations, political and media censorship, school quality, housing and the environment. 

 

The Mercer list and a description of the list can be found at:

 

http://bwnt.businessweek.com/interactive_reports/livable_cities_worldwide/

 

Table 1 shows all the cities on both lists in alphabetical order.  In addition, the difference in rank was calculated for each city when this was possible.  If a city was on only one top 100 list then the difference in rank could not be calculated.  The tourist destination study looked at 150 cities, but for the purposes of comparison, only the top 100 tourist destinations were used in this study. Many cities were only on one list and not on the other list.  The number of cities on both lists was counted.  The number of cities only on one list was also counted.  If the number of cities on both lists was greater than the number of cities not on both lists then this would suggest the truism is not true. 

 

Table 1: Alphabetical List of All Cities

 

Cities

Country

Tourist Rank

Livability Rank

Rank Difference

1

Abu Dhabi

UAE

52

88

36

2

Adelaide

Australia

NR

30

N/A

3

Agra

India

99

NR

N/A

4

Amsterdam

Netherlands

18

13

5

5

Antwerp

Belgium

90

NR

99

6

Athens

Greece

NR

78

N/A

7

Atlanta

USA

NR

66

N/A

8

Auckland

New Zealand

NR

5

N/A

9

Bahrain

Bahrain

12

NR

18

10

Bangkok

Thailand

2

NR

90

11

Barcelona

Spain

10

41

12

12

Beijing

China

22

NR

N/A

13

Benidorm

Spain

33

NR

N/A

14

Berlin

Germany

34

16

18

15

Bern

Germany

NR

9

N/A

16

Birmingham

United Kingdom

81

55

26

17

Boston

USA

68

36

32

18

Bratislava

Slovakia

NR

99

N/A

19

Brisbane

Australia

NR

32

N/A

20

Bruges

Belgium

89

NR

N/A

21

Brussels

Belgium

NR

14

N/A

22

Buenos Aires

Argentina

NR

79

N/A

23

Budapest

Hungary

36

74

38

24

Cairo

Egypt

45

NR

N/A

25

Calgary

Canada

NR

24

N/A

26

Cancun

Mexico

26

NR

N/A

27

Cape Town

South Africa

57

85

28

28

Chennai

India

97

NR

N/A

29

Chicago

USA

64

44

20

30

Chongquing

China

100

NR

N/A

31

Cleveland

USA

NR

59

N/A

32

Copenhagen

Sweden

54

11

43

33

Dalian

China

87

NR

N/A

34

Detroit

USA

NR

64

N/A

35

Dubai

UAE

7

80

73

36

Dublin

Ireland

11

27

16

37

Dusseldorf

Germany

NR

5

N/A

38

Edinburgh

United Kingdom

56

NR

N/A

39

Florence

Italy

46

NR

N/A

40

Frankfurt

Germany

NR

7

N/A

41

Geneva

Switzerland

98

2

96

42

Glasgow

United Kingdom

82

55

27

43

Granada

Spain

95

NR

N/A

44

Guangzhou

China

32

NR

N/A

45

Guilin

China

65

NR

N/A

46

Hamburg

Germany

83

24

59

47

Hangzhou

China

49

NR

N/A

48

Helsinki

Finland

77

30

47

49

Hong Kong

China

5

70

65

50

Honolulu

USA

NR

27

N/A

51

Houston

USA

NR

68

N/A

52

Istanbul

Turkey

16

NR

N/A

53

Johannesburg

South Africa

NR

90

N/A

54

Katsuyama

Japan

NR

73

N/A

55

Kobe

Japan

NR

40

N/A

56

Krakow

Poland

69

NR

N/A

57

Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia

15

75

60

58

Kunming

China

94

NR

N/A

59

La Havana

Cuba

70

NR

N/A

60

Las Vegas

USA

48

NR

N/A

61

Leipzig

Germany

NR

67

N/A

62

Lexington

USA

NR

51

N/A

63

Limassol

Cyprus

NR

91

N/A

64

Lisbon

Portugal

47

47

0

65

Liverpool

United Kingdom

91

NR

N/A

66

Ljubljana

Slovenia

NR

80

N/A

67

London

United Kingdom

1

39

38

68

Los Angeles

USA

31

55

24

69

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

NR

18

N/A

70

Lyon

France

84

36

48

71

Macau 

China

27

NR

N/A

72

Madrid

Spain

17

42

25

73

Manchester

United Kingdom

73

NR

N/A

74

Marrakesh

Morocco

50

NR

N/A

75

Mecca

Saudi Arabia

19

NR

N/A

76

Melbourne

Australia

72

17

55

77

Mexico City

Mexico

30

NR

N/A

78

Miami

USA

39

62

23

79

Milan

Italy

42

49

7

80

Minneapolis

USA

NR

60

N/A

81

Monterrey

Mexico

NR

94

N/A

82

Montevideo

Uruguay

NR

76

N/A

83

Montreal

Canada

85

22

63

84

Moscow

Russia

21

NR

N/A

85

Mumbai

India

86

NR

N/A

86

Munich

Germany

40

8

32

87

Nagoya

Japan

NR

54

N/A

88

Nanjing

China

76

NR

N/A

89

New Delhi

India

92

NR

N/A

90

New York City

USA

6

48

42

91

Nice

France

61

NR

N/A

92

Nurnberg

Germany

NR

23

N/A

93

Oahu/Honolulu

USA

44

27

17

94

Omuta

Japan

NR

69

N/A

95

Orlando

USA

38

NR

N/A

96

Osaka

Japan

NR

42

N/A

97

Oslo

Norway

NR

26

N/A

98

Ottawa

Canada

NR

18

N/A

99

Panama City

Panama

NR

92

N/A

100

Papeete

French Polynesia

NR

97

N/A

101

Paris

France

3

33

30

102

Perth

Australia

NR

21

N/A

103

Pittsburg

USA

NR

52

N/A

104

Portland

USA

NR

46

N/A

105

Port Elizabeth

South Africa

NR

97

N/A

106

Port Louis

Mauritius

NR

77

N/A

107

Prague

Czech Republic

20

72

52

108

Qingdao

China

79

NR

N/A

109

Riga

Latvia

NR

92

N/A

110

Rio De Janeiro

Brazil

35

NR

N/A

111

Rome

Italy

8

61

53

113

St. Louis

USA

NR

64

N/A

114

San Juan

Puerto Rico

NR

71

N/A

115

Salvador de Bahia

Brazil

71

NR

N/A

116

Salzburg

Austria

74

NR

N/A

117

San Diego

USA

88

NR

N/A

118

San Francisco

USA

37

29

8

119

Santiago

Chile

NR

83

N/A

120

São Paulo

Brazil

62

NR

N/A

121

Seattle

USA

NR

49

N/A

122

Seoul

South Korea

9

87

78

123

Seville

Spain

60

NR

N/A

124

Shanghai

China

13

100

87

125

Shenzen

China

41

NR

N/A

126

Singapore

Singapore

4

34

N/A

127

St. Petersburg

Russia

25

NR

N/A

128

Stockholm

Sweden

66

20

46

129

Suzhou

China

59

NR

N/A

130

Sydney

Australia

43

9

34

131

Taipei

China

24

81

57

132

Tallinn

Estonia

67

89

22

133

Tianjin

China

75

NR

N/A

134

Tokyo

Japan

51

35

16

135

Toronto

Canada

14

15

1

136

Tsukuba

Japan

NR

55

N/A

137

Tunis

Italy

NR

95

N/A

138

Valencia

Spain

93

NR

N/A

139

Vancouver

Canada

NR

3

N/A

140

Varadero

Cuba

53

NR

N/A

141

Venice 

Italy

28

NR

N/A

142

Victoria

Seychelles

NR

95

N/A

143

Vienna 

Austria

23

3

20

144

Vilnius

Lithuania

NR

82

N/A

145

Warsaw 

Poland

29

85

56

146

Washington DC 

USA

63

44

19

147

Wellington

New Zealand

NR

12

N/A

148

Winston Salem

USA

NR

52

N/A

149

Wuxi 

China

96

NR

N/A

150

Xi’an 

China

78

NR

N/A

151

Xiamen 

China

80

NR

N/A

152

Yokkaichi

Japan

NR

63

N/A

153

Yokohama

Japan

NR

38

N/A

154

Zhuhai 

China

58

NR

N/A

155

Zurich 

Switzerland

55

1

54

NR, no rank, no top 100 rank in this category

N/A, not applicable since the city was on only one of the lists

 

Table 2 below shows cities that were on both lists ordered from the least difference between ranks to the greatest difference between ranks.

 

Table 2: Comparison of Ranks

 

Cities

Country

Tourist Rank

Livability Rank

Rank Difference

1

Lisbon

Portugal

47

47

0

2

Toronto

Canada

14

15

1

3

Amsterdam

Netherlands

18

13

5

4

Milan

Italy

42

49

7

5

San Francisco

USA

37

29

8

6

Dublin

Ireland

11

27

16

7

Tokyo

Japan

51

35

16

8

Oahu/Honolulu

USA

44

27

17

9

Berlin

Germany

34

16

18

10

Washington DC

USA

63

44

19

11

Chicago

USA

64

44

20

12

Vienna

Austria

23

3

20

13

Tallinn

Estonia

67

89

22

14

Miami

USA

39

62

23

15

Los Angeles

USA

31

55

24

16

Birmingham

United Kingdom

81

55

26

17

Glasgow

United Kingdom

82

55

27

18

Cape Town

South Africa

57

85

28

19

Paris

France

3

33

30

20

Boston

USA

68

36

32

21

Munich

Germany

40

8

32

22

Sydney

Australia

43

9

34

23

Abu Dhabi

UAE

52

88

36

24

Budapest

Hungary

36

74

38

25

London

United Kingdom

1

39

38

26

New York City

USA

6

48

42

27

Copenhagen

Sweden

54

11

43

28

Stockholm

Sweden

66

20

46

29

Helsinki

Finland

77

30

47

30

Lyon

France

84

36

48

31

Prague

Czech Republic

20

72

52

32

Rome

Italy

8

61

53

33

Melbourne

Australia

72

17

55

34

Warsaw

Poland

29

85

56

35

Taipei

China

24

81

57

36

Hamburg

Germany

83

24

59

37

Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia

15

75

60

38

Montreal

Canada

85

22

63

39

Hong Kong

China

5

70

65

40

Dubai

UAE

7

80

73

41

Seoul

South Korea

9

87

78

42

Shanghai

China

13

100

87

43

Geneva

Switzerland

98

2

96

 

Conclusion

There were a total of 155 cities on either list.  112 cities were only on one list.  Only 43 cities were on both lists.  Cities that are only on one list outnumber cities on both lists 2.6:1.  Even for cities on both lists, the mean difference between ranks was 37.6 and quite high.  These findings suggest that cities that are visited are not the same cities that are more livable.  The truism that some cities are nice places to visit and different cities are nice places to live in is correct.   Table 2 showed which cities had the least difference between ranks and the greatest difference between ranks. 

 

The city with the least difference in rank was Lisbon.  Lisbon had a rank of 47 on both lists.  Toronto had the second least difference in rank and has the honor of having a relatively high visitor rank (14) and livability rank (15).  Amsterdam showed a similar pattern to Toronto with a visitor rank of 18 and a livability rank of 13. 

 

Geneva had the greatest difference in rank.  Geneva is a great place to live (2) but doesn’t get very many tourists (98) relative to other cities.  Shanghai had the second greatest difference in rank but in the opposite direction as Geneva.  Shanghai is a city that many tourists visit (13) but only ranks 100 in terms of livability.  A practical implication for expats is to be wary of deciding to live in cities you like to visit without taking the Visit/Live Theory into account.

 

Additional References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World’s_Most_Livable_Cities

http://www.mercer.com/referencecontent.htm?idContent=1128060

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

6 responses to “Best 100 Cities?

  1. Monterrey comes a lot lower than Houston as a place to live? Almost bottom of the list? No way. In fact the list looks like nonsense to me. I’ve lived in many of those cities and the order makes no sense!

  2. How’s it going Clive? Remember visitng you in Monterrey with fondness and I always had a great time in Monterrey.

    Its not easy for a third world city to be on the livability list at all and Monterrey should be happy its on the list at all. The livability factors are to a great extent measures of economic development in their own right. I did live in Houston for five years and am amazed that its so high on the list and San Antonio where I also lived for five years is not on the list at all. Hope you enjoyed the post!

  3. Well, I had only one comment:

    Antwerp is not in the Netherlands !!!!!
    It’s one of the most beautiful cities of Belgium…

    How can any research on cities be made if you don’t even know where they are located ?

  4. Thanks for the info. I will correct the article. I have never been to Antwerp and many of the cities cited. Frankly there are one or two cities on the two lists looked at that I had never even hear of at all and I would say I am pretty well traveled. I will take your word that it is a beautiful city.

  5. I can say Agra, India is a cool place and very cheap for a US citizen due to dollar conversion rates. All you have to do is keep yourself sideline from local vendors and politely say NO to stuff you don’t want to buy. Moreover, always check Taxi and fares before you board. There are lots of Pre-Paid Taxi stands which will not loot you so be cautious. Overall its a great city with vibrant culture.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s