Singapore remains the most liveable location in the world for expatriates from East Asia with an improved liveability score in the past year, as revealed by the latest Location Ratings survey published by global mobility expert, ECA International.

Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in Singapore sooner than other major locations in Asia, which had a positive effect on Singapore’s liveability score and its attractiveness as a desirable location for expatriates.

Asia Highlights

Hong Kong’s liveability ranking has fallen 15 places to 92nd this past year. This decline is largely due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions in 2022 and changes in its political environment. In contrast, other Asian locations have seen improvements as restrictions were lifted in the post-pandemic era.

“Hong Kong’s maintenance of its Covid-19 mitigation measures this past year stood in contrast against many of its peers, both regionally and globally,” Quane observed. “Continued quarantine restrictions, the limitation of access to recreational activities and other social distancing measures persisted throughout 2022, which put Hong Kong in a less favourable position compared to other locations. Furthermore, recent legislative council and elections for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive also signalled changes in its political environment, which contributed to the decline in its liveability score and ranking.” 

“Likewise, cities in mainland China have all fallen in our rankings due exclusively to the impact of China’s zero-Covid strategy that was maintained throughout most of 2022.”

Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia at ECA International

ASEAN locations generally improved in scores and rankings the past year, owing to the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. Locations across Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines saw a climb in their rankings, while Yangon, Myanmar, is the only ASEAN location which saw a fall in its ranking owing to the continued deterioration of security circumstances in the country.

“ASEAN locations followed Singapore’s lead and relaxed their Covid-19 restrictions accordingly. In doing so, they improved their positions in our liveability rankings,” said Quane. “Nonetheless, the impact of these improvements remains largely limited as the gap between Singapore and Bangkok – the second-highest location ranked in the ASEAN region but ranked 115th globally – indicates a wide disparity within the region that must be narrowed before other locations in ASEAN can offer similar living standards to the Lion City.”

Elsewhere, major cities in the Asia Pacific have seen significant improvements due to the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. Cities in Australia saw major improvements in their liveability scores, while Auckland, New Zealand, was the biggest riser, climbing up 20 places to become the 4th most liveable location in the world for East Asian expatriates.

Top 20 most liveable locations for East Asian expatriates

Location2022 ranking2021 ranking
Tokyo, Japan23
Wellington, New Zealand32
Osaka, Japan43
Yokohama, Japan48
Adelaide, Australia410
Brisbane, Australia410
Auckland, New Zealand424
Copenhagen, Denmark93
Sydney, Australia910
Bern, Switzerland116
Eindhoven, Netherlands118
Nagoya, Japan136
Amsterdam, Netherlands1310
The Hague, Netherlands1310
Utrecht, Netherlands1310
Stavanger, Norway1710
Gothenburg, Sweden1710
Geneva, Switzerland1710
Rotterdam, Netherlands1724

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