A higher score in stability has helped the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, improve its rank on the Global Liveability Index 2019 by 1 step.
Although Dhaka has once again been ranked as one of the worst cities in the world to live in, it has done better in some indicators than the countries having a lower position on the index.
The 2019 index by the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) has named Dhaka the third least liveable city, with an overall rating of 39.2 out of 100.
This is no breaking news for Dhaka, which has found itself among the world’s least liveable cities for the past five years.
If the overall ratings of the last five years are taken into account, Dhaka has shown slight improvements. Every year from 2014 to 2017, Dhaka’s overall score was 38.7.
Syria’s Damascus came out as the least liveable city while Nigeria’s Lagos was positioned as the second worst in the latest index.
The liveability score is calculated based on five categories:
• Culture and Environment
Each category has its own set of sub-categories to ensure that the score covers as many indicators as possible to reflect a comprehensive picture of the city in question.
Dhaka’s change only in stability, and culture and environment
Of the five categories, Dhaka has seen its score change only in two over the past five years – stability, and culture and environment.
Scores in all other categories have remained static during this period.
Stability: In the last five years, Dhaka has improved in stability, with its stability score rising to 55 in 2019 from 50 in the previous years. For four consecutive years from 2014 to 2018, Dhaka scored 50 in this category.
In the 2019 index, war-ravaged Damascus and overpopulated Lagos have performed very poorly in this category compared to Dhaka. Both the cities scored only 20, which reflects how gravely they suffer from the problem of instability.
Stability is a crucial factor in the overall liveability score of a city as it carries 25% of the total weight. Globally, the average liveability score has increased primarily because of higher stability scores, the EIU said.
Prevalence of violent crime, threat of military conflict and threat of civil unrest are among the indicators used to calculate the stability score. Dhaka has not faced any threat of military conflict and civil unrest last year, and there has been no prevalence of violent crime either. This has largely helped Dhaka level up in the stability category.
Melbourne and Sydney were ranked the second and third most liveable city in the 2019 index respectively, but they both have a stability score of 95. Vienna, the most liveable city, earned the perfect score, 100 out of 100.
Culture and environment: Dhaka’s score in culture and environment has shown a decline. For the last two years, Dhaka earned 40.5 in this category. However, every year from 2014 to 2017, Dhaka’s score was better – 43.3.
In the 2019 index, both Dhaka and Damascus scored 40.5 while Lagos fared much better, earning 53.5 points.
Like stability, culture and environment is also a key factor in the overall liveability score of a city as it carries 25% of the total weight.
According to the EIU, a deterioration in the culture and environment score is of concern. One of the main reasons to lose points in this category is the adverse effects of climate change – something both Dhaka and India’s New Delhi have experienced, especially in terms of air quality and temperature.
The lack of efforts to tackle climate change impacts might result in further declines in this score. This, in turn, threatens to counteract improvements in other categories, such as education and infrastructure, the EIU noted.
Moreover, level of corruption and sporting availability are among the indicators used to calculate scores in the culture and environment category. Rampant corruption, especially in the government offices, and lack of adequate greeneries, parks and playgrounds have been responsible for the decline in Dhaka’s score.
The healthcare category is another important factor in the liveability index as it carries 20% of the total weight. Dhaka’s score in healthcare is piteous. Even among the 10 least liveable cities in the 2019 index, Dhaka (29.2) has the third lowest score in healthcare.
This has remained unchanged since 2014, which reflects the poor state of availability and quality of healthcare services in the city. Stories of lack of adequate facilities in hospitals to provide required treatments for patients are frequently reported in the media.
Only Cameroon’s Douala (25) and Zimbabwe’s Harare (20.8) have scored less than Dhaka in 2019.
In contrast, all the cities in the top 10 league boast flawless score in healthcare except Copenhagen (95.8), which is not the case even in the stability category that carries more weight than healthcare.
Another striking factor is the education score of the 10 best cities. They all scored 100 out of 100, which reflects the outstanding state of education in those places.
Bangladesh (41.7) has higher education score than Lagos (33.3) and Damascus (33.3). Even though Douala’s (44) overall liveability rating is better than Dhaka (39.2), the former suffers in education category, earning the same score as Damascus and Lagos.
Of all five categories, Dhaka (26.8) scored the lowest in infrastructure. This is also the lowest score in this category among the least 10 liveable cities. Although Lagos (46.4) and Damascus (32.1) have their overall liveability ratings below Dhaka, their infrastructure scores are higher.