Typhoon Hato caused tumble in expat livability ranking

Macau has tumbled 18 places on a livability ranking for Asian expatriates on account of the impact of last year’s typhoons, a global mobility consulting firm said yesterday. The fall puts the MSAR in joint-100th place out of a total of 480 surveyed cities.

The annual ranking, compiled by Employment Conditions Abroad (ECA) International, seeks to evaluate the livability of over 480 locations worldwide via several quality of life metrics.

Factors used in the assessment include climate, availability of health services, housing, access to leisure facilities, infrastructure, air quality, personal safety and political tensions. The firm notes that “the impact of some of the factors assessed will vary according to the home location of the assignee,” but does not expound on how this is factored into the ranking.

The significant drop registered for Macau this year was justified on the back of several typhoons last year, most notably Hato, which struck the city on August 23.

“Macau has seen a drop in the rankings due to the impact of severe typhoons that hit the area in 2017 and it is now considered less livable than locations such as Seoul which it sat above in last year’s rankings,” said Lee Quane, regional director – Asia, at ECA International.

An ECA International representative added in an email to the Times yesterday that the typhoons had “impacted negatively on the natural phenomena criteria […] but also on utilities, as both the power and water supplies were significantly impacted.”

Meanwhile, Hong Kong remained more or less stagnant in joint-28th. According to Quane, the semi-autonomous territory “continues to suffer from long-term air quality and pollution issues which have seen it stay in the low position in the rankings.”

Elsewhere in China, the majority of cities registered a fall in the rankings on the basis of heightened internet censorship, the ban on virtual private networks (VPNs), and a deterioration in air quality. Beijing dropped the furthest, falling 10 places to 134th.

This year, Singapore defended its position as the most livable city in the world for Asian expats. According to Quane, “This is due to a combination of factors such as low crime rates, easy access to good quality schools and healthcare and lower levels of pollution than a lot of other locations in the region.”

Singapore was followed in the rankings by three Australian cities: Brisbane in second position, and Adelaide and Sydney in joint-third. Perth (6th), Canberra (10th) Darwin (13th) and Melbourne (13th) all secured spots in the top-15.

Quane said that “Australian cities always tend to perform strongly in terms of livability for Asian expats due to the excellent facilities and infrastructure, as well as the generally low levels of crime and air pollution.” 

As for Japan, all surveyed cities in the country continued to perform well, earning places in the top-40 for Asian expatriates. Some notable factors in Japan’s expat attractiveness are “the excellent facilities and infrastructure, as well as the high availability of a very broad range of goods and services.”

Taking the top spot for Europe this year is again the Danish capital, Copenhagen, followed by Bern, Switzerland (13th) and the Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Eindhoven and The Hague, which all placed joint-16th.

London lagged considerably behind in joint-67th, and New York trailed in joint-82nd, mostly on account of poor metrics for crime levels and air pollution. DB

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