Singapore still tops, but Vietnam and Thailand rise in liveability rankings

liveability rankings singapore
Singapore once again finished atop the liveability rankings, but Thai and Vietnamese cities improved last year

While cities such as Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City won’t be surpassing Singapore anytime soon, they are becoming more liveable for East Asian expats. Several Thai and Vietnamese cities rose in the latest Location Ratings survey published by ECA International.

“Liveability has improved in Thai and Vietnamese locations due to the economic growth that both countries are seeing currently. As Vietnam develops and invests in better infrastructure, living standards have improved for locals and expats in the country,” Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia at ECA International, explained. “Meanwhile, for the Thai locations in our list, the success of the recent peaceful democratic elections means that cities in the country have seen an improvement in the political situation too – something that inevitably improves liveability levels for expatriates.”

With increasing Japanese investment in Thailand, more expats from Japan are living in Thailand. According to JRE development, an estimated 70,000 Japanese expats currently reside in Thailand with most being based in Bangkok and the country’s Eastern Seaboard.

No changes at the top of the liveability rankings

For the 14th year in a row, Singapore was named the most liveable city for East Asian expats by ECA International.

“Singapore has consistently featured at the top of our liveability rankings for Asian expats for well over a decade and this year is no different. Singapore boasts excellent infrastructure and amenities across the board, as well maintaining low crime rates and a large expatriate community, meaning that Singapore stays in the top spot and most likely will do for the considerable future,” Quane stated.

Liveability in Hong Kong declines

After a year filled with unrest and economic uncertainty, Hong Kong fell 52 places in the latest Location Ratings survey. It was passed by several other major Asian financial hubs including Seoul and Taipei.

“The scale of Hong Kong’s fall in our rankings is unprecedented and is a consequence of ongoing socio-political tensions in the city” Quane said. “Not only are the heightened political tensions worrying for expats living in the region, protests that have regularly taken place since mid-2019 have had a negative effect on areas of everyday life which are often taken for granted. This includes disruptions to Hong Kong’s transportation infrastructure and a rise in crime rates since the protests began.”

ECA’s Location Ratings system evaluates more than 490 locations as part of the survey. It then creates liveability rankings based on a host of factors to form an assessment of the overall quality of living for Asian expats.