Vienna Takes the Lead, Again

Vienna ranked most livable city in the world – with homicides declining, too.

There’s more to Vienna than its walkable town center, iconic cafés, and seriously good cake. The city also keeps its standards high when it comes to cleanliness, public transport, infrastructure, and health care. So it is no surprise that Vienna was rated the world’s most livable city for the second year in a row by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and for the 10th year in a row according to Mercer.

“The Viennese are known for a rather unique combination of hard work, resourcefulness, prudence, and cooperation,” Executive City Councilor for Finance, Business, Digital Innovation and International Affairs, Peter Hanke, said in 2018. “We simply call it ‘the Viennese way.’”

The EIU’s annual index bases its analysis of 140 cities on five categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Putting it just ahead of Melbourne, the Austrian capital scored a near-perfect 99.1 out of 100 with Sydney, Osaka, and Calgary trailing closely behind. Larger cities such as New York, London, and Paris have vibrant cultural appeal – including dominant culinary scenes – but were ranked lower due to higher crime rates and poorer infrastructure.

As shown in the City of Vienna’s 2018 annual booklet “Vienna in Figures” Vienna boasts 49.6% green space, is home to 181 different nationalities, and spends 18.7% of its total expenditure on social welfare and housing promotion.

Naturally, others want a slice of the cake, too. In 2018, Vienna welcomed 16,483, 497 overnight tourists looking to taste the good life, but also leaders from other municipalities who want to learn from the city’s success. As Metropole covered in its last issue on city planning, Vienna’s “Smart City” approach is a global export, and other cities look up to its social housing program.

So can it get any better? Yes, it can. In addition to being ranked the most livable city in the world, Vienna has also seen a drop in homicides. Though Austria as a whole has experienced a 4.8% increase in criminal offenses (mainly due to cybercrime), the murder rate has dropped significantly, at least in Vienna. In response to several murder cases in the beginning of the year, the previous Minister of Interior, Herbert Kickl, set up a screening group to investigate old murder cases, identify risk scenarios, and prepare preventive measures.

We say, the Viennese way is having your cake and eating it, too.


This article was made possible by a donation from Andreas Tattersall. If you would like to support our work, please subscribe or select an option from the donation box below. Thanks again, Andreas Tattersall!




Bridget Carter
Bridget Carter is an international relations graduate student at Webster Vienna Private University where her areas of focus include post-conflict development and gender dimensions of migration. She was born in Texas, grew up in California, lived in Bangkok, and now calls Vienna home. She is an avid traveler, inspirational-reads enthusiast, and health-food junkie. She also likes to step out on foot and marvel at the common, and not-so-common, wonders of Vienna.

RECENT Articles


Join over 5,000 Metropolitans, who already get monthly news updates and event invitations.