NEW ZEALAND has done a remarkable job of controlling covid-19. It has reported just 26 deaths from the disease, roughly one out of every 200,000 people. On many days this year, it has not recorded a single new case. One of those days was March 19th—a time when many countries were still enforcing strict lockdowns, but Auckland was already permitting concerts. As 12,000 fans of Crowded House, an Australian rock band, squeezed into Spark Arena that night, they had good reason to think they were living in the best city in the world.
A new survey of “liveability” in 140 cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a sister company of The Economist, gives mathematical weight to such a claim. For the first time, Auckland leads the EIU’s ranking, thanks largely to the city’s early containment of the pandemic and to its subsequent ability to lift restrictions on mobility. It came 12th in 2019, the most recent year in which the EIU published its list. Close on Auckland’s heels is Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, which moved up from 25th in 2019 to fourth this year. Other island nations with strong border controls also fared well: two Japanese cities and four from Australia appear in the top ten. In the vast majority of cities, however, living conditions have plummeted compared with pre-pandemic levels.
+INFO: The Economist