These Are The 20 Healthiest Cities In The World, Ranked

London came in at number 40. Heidi Sandstrom/Unsplash

Rosie McCall 09 Aug 2018, 22:06

There are many things we can do to improve our health, from the obvious (think: exercising regularly, eating better, and sleeping better) to the more obscure, such as drinking coffee, having sex, and – according to new research – munching on crickets.

Then there are some things, important things, that can affect our health but are much harder to control. Say, what city you live in. 

Curious to know how healthy your city is? A rental agency called Spotahome has used data from the WHO, OECD, CIA World Factbook, and TripAdvisor (among others) to compile a list of 89 cities across the world, ranking them from healthiest to unhealthiest based on how they fare on 10 criteria from "air and water quality" to "work-life balance". The final score is calculated as an average of each of these factors.

It is not a fool-proof list, so take the results with a pinch of salt. Cities only make the cut if they have sufficient data on each and every criterion, and it gives every factor equal weighting when it comes to working out the total score. You might argue obesity rates and air pollution levels count for more than the number of electric car charging points, for example, but the Healthiest Cities Index would suggest otherwise.

It's hard not to notice but this list is very Eurocentric with a few rogue entries from Australia and New Zealand. The healthiest city in America is San Francisco, which also just so happens to be the only city where every single resident lives within a 10-minute walk of a park. It slides in at number 34. 

In the UK, the healthiest city is London at number 40, receiving a perfect score for the number of electric car charging points, but is ultimately let down by its lack of quality gyms and the notoriously dreary British weather. (This summer being an exception.)

Be warned: After reading through the list, you might just be tempted to book a one-way ticket to Amsterdam.

20. Wellington, New Zealand

Milosz Maslanka/Shutterstock

Average gym score (the average rating of up to 60 randomly selected gems within the city center, using Google Places): 9.48

Annual sunshine hours (the average annual duration of sunshine in each city, using local government sites and weather hubs): 3.48

Life expectancy at birth (the average number of years a newborn is expected to live, using the CIA World Factbook): 8.14

Fast-food outlets (the number of outlets tagged as "fast food" per 100,000 citizens, using TripAdvisor): 7.7

Obesity in adults (the prevalence of overweight adults, using the WHO): 1.17

Annual vacation days (the average number of paid vacation days, excluding legal holidays, using UBS Global Cities Ranking 2018): 4.33

Work-life balance (the number of employees who work more than 50 hours per week, using the OECD Better Life Index): 5.58

Air and water quality (the overall pollution levels in a city, using Numbeo Pollution Index 2018): 10

Green space (the quality of green space and parks in a city, using Numbeo Pollution Index 2018): 9.29

Electric car charging points (the number of electric car charging points within a 5-mile radius of the city center, using Open Charge Map): 0.13

Total average: 5.93

19. Copenhagen, Denmark

Nick Karvounis/Unsplash

Average gym score: 4.03

Annual sunshine hours: 1.3

Life expectancy at birth: 7.3

Fast-food outlets: 8.34

Obesity in adults: 3.13

Annual vacation days: 7.23

Work-life balance: 9.39

Air and water quality: 8.61

Green space: 9.3

Electric car charging points: 1.38

Total average: 6.00

18. Lisbon, Portugal

Luisa Azevedo/Unsplash

Average gym score: 6.1

Annual sunshine hours: 6.62

Life expectancy at birth: 7.26

Fast-food outlets: 7.43

Obesity in adults: 2.73

Annual vacation days: 5.1

Work-life balance: 7.61

Air and water quality: 7.05

Green space: 6.54

Electric car charging points: 3.76

Total average: 6.02

17. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Marco Secchi/Unsplash

Average gym score: 9.09

Annual sunshine hours: 2.03

Life expectancy at birth: 6.74

Fast-food outlets: 7.36

Obesity in adults: 3

Annual vacation days: 5.37

Work-life balance: 8.72

Air and water quality: 8.18

Green space: 9.48

Electric car charging points: 0.37

Total average: 6.03

16. Gothenburg, Sweden

Anselm Baumgart/Shutterstock

Average gym score: 2.21

Annual sunshine hours: 2.91

Life expectancy at birth: 8.51

Fast-food outlets: 9.09

Obesity in adults: 2.94

Annual vacation days: 6

Work-life balance: 9.72

Air and water quality: 8.99

Green space: 8.9

Electric car charging points: 1.29

Total average: 6.06

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