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What’s in a survey? Calgary world’s fourth most livable city

What’s in a survey? Calgary world’s fourth most livable city

Posted on: 8/14/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​It’s a good day to be a Calgarian. The city by the Bow was just ranked the fourth most livable city (out of 140) by the Economist Intelligence Unit ​Economist Intelligence Unit. Vienna, Austria was number one while Vancouver and Toronto were in sixth and seventh spots, respectively.

This is cause for celebration because it highlights the undeniably high quality of life available in Canadian cities. The more the world is aware of this, the better.

But let's not get too carried away.

First, the methodology behind the list should raise some eyebrows. Almost all of the 30 variables used to rank the cities are “based on the judgment of in-house expert country analysts and a field correspondent based in each city.” This means that a small group of people in an office in London along with a single person in each city are ranking things such as “discomfort of climate to travellers,” “level of censorship” and “quality of road network” on a largely subjective basis. This doesn’t mean that the information collected is bunk, but it is not scientific.

Second, there are more than 140 cities in the world, so many places that might be as livable as the cities at the top of the list are not evaluated. It’s not clear if Edmonton is included in the 140 cities as it appears The Economist charges thousands of dollars to view the full list. In any case, despite the friendly rivalry between the two large Alberta centres, Edmonton is likely as “livable” as Calgary based on the variables used in this study.

On the bright side, Calgary is fourth on a widely discussed international list—shining a light on the quality of life available here in Alberta.

Most livable cities, graph

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