Melbourne and Sydney named as top international cities

Melbourne and Sydney have been named among the best cities in the world, according to a new index of leading international cities.

While, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and the Gold Coast have all made the top 100.

The first-ever Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, named Melbourne the ninth-best city in the world based on a host of indicators including economics, human capital, quality of life, environment and governance.

“Melbourne has, in the last two decades, been catching up to Sydney in aspects ranging from economics to population size,” the report said.

“Because of its many art galleries and the fact that it hosts major sports events—such as the Australian Open and the Australian Grand Prix— Melbourne is widely considered to be the cultural and sporting capital of Australia.”

The report said Melbourne had a diversified, service-oriented economy, with a large business services sector and leading research facilities in healthcare, and has been able to grow at a relatively high and stable rate in recent years. 

“Melbourne’s achievement in the economics category is centred around it being a global city, with a diverse and durable economy,” the report said.

The next best performer was Sydney, at number 16, out of a possible 1000 cities.

The Harbour City was named ninth in the human capital category on the back of the high level of education in the city, the largest number of corporate headquarters and the highest proportion of foreign-born residents.

Sydney also made the top 20 in the economics category, given its stable GDP growth and tourism-boosted economic growth.

However, Sydney performed poorly with one of the worst environmental ranks, given its subtropical climate and risk of bushfires.

“Still the foremost city in Australia, Sydney continues to be an attractive place for individuals and companies alike,” the report said.

“However, as shown by its ranking in the index, Sydney has lost some ground to its main competitor, Melbourne, in recent years.”

Regional Trends in the Global Cities Index – Source: Oxford Economics

Perth was also named among the world’s best, at number 23 on the index.

The WA capital was in the top 100 across all the major categories, except quality of life (135th).

Its strong showing in the economic and human capital rankings came on the back of the strength in the mining sector.

Brisbane took out 27th place on the list thanks to its young workforce and state-of-the-art infrastructure.

However, it fell away because of its risk of natural disaster and sharply rising house prices.

Canberra came in second in the world for quality of life, leading to the Australian capital finishing at number 44 on the overall index.

“This impressive feat is driven by the city’s high incomes and low degree of income inequality, due to the availability of stable and high-paying government jobs,” the report said.

“The city also has excellent healthcare facilities and ranks among the highest in the world for life expectancy.”

The only other Australian cities to make the list were Adelaide at 51 and the Gold Coast at 81. 

New York topped the index, followed by London, San Jose, Tokyo and Paris.

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