City has topped The Economist Global Liveability Index for eight years running

Manchester is the most liveable city in the UK, according to a report by The Economist.

The Global Liveability Index, which is produced yearly by The Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked Manchester number one of UK cities, and 38th in the world.

The top rankers globally included Vienna, Melbourne and Sydney, while Damascus, Lagos and Dhaka were branded least liveable. Manchester has held the UK number one spot since 2011. This year the city came 38th in the global ranking, while London came ten places below at 48. 

We have recently seen an increasing number companies relocate to Manchester and the city region’s outstanding quality of life offer is regularly cited as a key driver for doing so

According to Sheona Southern of Marketing Manchester: “This ranking recognises Manchester as a great place to live, with a growing cultural scene, vibrant food and drink offering and a thriving night-time economy. It is clear why growing numbers of people from the UK and across the world are attracted to live, work and study here… Manchester’s reputation and position as a global continues to grow in strength.”

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Manchester is attractive to business

The ranking is calculated through assessing five core categories: stability, healthcare, culture & environment, education and infrastructure, which are broken down into a further 30 factors.

Stability covers such factors such as crime and the threat of terror.

There was controversy in 2017 when Manchester slipped down the global rankings (though held onto its top UK spot) due to the Manchester Arena bombing.

However, it recovered in 2018 because of increased security as a response to the bombing, with The Economist directly stating: “Manchester’s resilience in its recovery from a terror attack in 2017 and improved security helped it rise.”

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Food and drink plays a part in the city's renaissance

Healthcare also gets a boost perhaps due in part to the devolved healthcare budget in Manchester, while culture is boosted not only by the food and drink scene, sports and arts events such as Manchester International Festival, but considerations such as social and religious tolerance.

Some have speculated that The Economist leans towards Manchester as a city that is attractive to investors and the executives who have to relocate when businesses move headquarters. The education category, for example, is mainly judged on the availability and quality of private education. 

Tim Newns, CEO of Midas said “Liveability plays an important part in a company’s investment decision making process, so securing the highest ranking of all UK cities in The Economist’s Global Liveability Index is a fantastic achievement for Greater Manchester. We have recently seen an increasing number of London-based companies relocate to or expand into Manchester - including TalkTalk and Fitch group – and the city region’s outstanding quality of life offer is regularly cited as a key driver for doing so.”

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The Halle is a cultural asset

Manchester also came top of the Best Cities in Britain for Business, as judged by a panel from Management Today.

"Successful cities today are those offering businesses access to knowledge, in terms of workers, clients, collaborators and competitors," said one of the judges, Paul Swinney from the Centre for Cities. "Manchester in particular is increasingly doing this, and we see the results in terms of the types of businesses now locating there, especially in its city centre."

The Economist is sponsoring the Open Future Festival 2019, which “aims to remake the case for liberal values and policies in the 21st century in a period of rising populism and authoritarianism around the world. It will include a series of high-profile speakers discussing topics from climate change to artificial intelligence, data ethics, trade wars and the growth of veganism.” It takes place at Emirates Old Trafford on 5th October.

The most and least liveable cities


1. Vienna, Austria

2. Melbourne, Australia

3. Sydney, Australia

4. Osaka, Japan

5. Calgary, Canada

6. Vancouver, Canada

7. Tokyo, Japan

7. Toronto, Canada

9. Copenhagen, Denmark

10. Adelaide, Australia


131. Caracas, Venezuela

132. Algiers, Algeria

133. Douala, Cameroon

134. Harare, Zimbabwe

135. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

136. Karachi, Pakistan

137. Tripoli, Libya

138. Dhaka, Bangladesh

139. Lagos, Nigeria

140. Damascus, Syria