Countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) have failed to impress in a study measuring the quality of life in cities worldwide, with none from the region coming in the top 30.
The Quality of Life Index 2016, published by travel and statistics website Numbeo, ranked 143 cities on a number of criteria. The highest-placed CEE/CIS city was Bursa in Turkey, which was ranked 37th.
Russia’s St Petersburg and Moscow were ranked at a lowly 125th and 127th out of 143, with Moscow one place behind the Iranian capital of Tehran. Low purchasing power following the ruble's collapse, high property prices and traffic congestion were the main factors in the low scores.
The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv was the second worst-ranked city for pollution levels, behind Skopje in Macedonia and one place ahead of Tbilisi, the Georgian capital. In this category, the Baltic nations performed well, with Estonia and Lithuania’s respective capitals of Tallinn and Vilnius the two least-polluted CEE/CIS cities. Tallinn was the ninth least-polluted city in the world, according to the study.
Despite unimpressive overall scores, some CEE/CIS cities excelled in certain categories. Timisoara in Romania topped the chart for daily commute times, with Serbia’s Novi Sad coming third.
Australia’s Canberra and Adelaide took the top and second spots in the overall index, respectively, followed by Zurich in third and Scotland’s Edinburgh in fourth.
The index is calculated using a number of component indices that take into account: purchasing power (higher is better); pollution (lower is better); house price/income ratio (lower is better); consumer prices (lower is better); safety (higher is better); health care (higher is better); traffic commute time (lower is better); and climate (higher is better).