The Economist newspaper ranks the city of Barcelona 16th in the Global Liveability Index for 2021.

This year Barcelona has managed to climb six positions compared to 2020, unlike many European cities that have dropped in the ranking because of the pandemic. In Europe, the confinements and restrictions of the different waves of COVID-19 have worsened the livability of cities that in previous years occupied privileged places in the ranking. For this reason, the top positions in the list are occupied by New Zealand, Australian and Japanese cities since they have been able to maintain a certain degree of normality despite the pandemic. Auckland tops the ranking, followed by Osaka, Adelaide, and Wellington.

What does the ranking evaluate?

The Global Liveability Index evaluates 140 cities in different areas that make them more or less livable. Data for the survey was collected between February 22 and March 21, 2021. One of the final findings of the report is that the average livability score globally has dropped seven points from the pre-COVID-19 average.

This year, the healthcare system has been one of the points that have weighed most heavily. The report explains that the average of the cities in terms of healthcare has dropped almost five points compared to six months ago. The sectors that have changed the least are education, infrastructure, and stability. In terms of education, Australia and New Zealand have the highest-ranked education systems, while in the rest of the world schools suffer temporary closures and go virtual due to COVID-19.

The Economist warns that, despite vaccinations, the impact of the pandemic is likely to continue to be felt in future assessments. Although livability in terms of culture and environment should improve, healthcare systems will continue to feel the strain and will have to catch up with the backlog of non-pandemic-related illnesses. In addition, people’s perceptions of livability will also have changed, for example, we have noted that green spaces are now more highly valued.

Why Barcelona?

Taking into account everything that the index evaluates, Barcelona scored 88.3 out of 100 total points. Unlike other cities, the second wave of coronavirus has had a lesser impact on the Catalan capital than on many other places in Europe.

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